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Friday, December 10, 2010

Determine if the "Neighborhood Value" Is There!

"Neighborhood value"
 is the atmosphere of a particular area - the look and feel of the homes and yards and so forth. But, more importantly, it's the "vibe" you receive from the neighbors.

Let's be honest: You can buy the finest home on the planet, but obnoxious neighbors can spoil the whole living experience for you.

Or, it could be the opposite - the neighbors aren't obnoxious; the current owners are. They may have had disputes with their neighbors and created an unhappy climate.

Depending on the nature of the disputes, the neighbors may be glad to see you, or they may be so negative toward the current owners that their attitude may spill over onto you, even though you had nothing to do with the situation! If that's true, then you may want to look at homes in a different area.

I'll give you an extreme example that happened to a friend of mine in a different city. We'll call him "Dave." He was interested in a home in a nice central-city neighborhood. The price seemed high, but the owner was trying to sell the house by himself so that didn't seem unusual since a "For Sale By Owner" often asks for a price above the estimated market value. As I'd advised him to do, Dave did his "due diligence" and talked to the neighbors.

Boy, did he get an earful! Turns out everyone hated "Ted," the owner of the property. As far as Dave could tell, this man had gone out of his way to offend everyone he possibly could in the neighborhood.

"Ted" played loud music at all hours of the night…shot a BB gun at pets that weren't in his yard…disputed suggested changes at neighborhood meetings…and had even tried to prevent a current neighbor (a nice family with two well-behaved children) from buying his present home because…well…no one was quite sure why. "Ted" simply seemed to have "mean" in his circulatory system, instead of blood.
Needless to say, this was a strange situation for Dave! On the one hand, the neighbors were practically begging him to buy the home simply to get rid of "Ted."

On the other, "Ted" was every bit as obnoxious with him in the bargaining process. He was loud, verbally abusive, and ridiculed every offer Dave made.

Well, you can guess the result. Dave felt sorry for the neighbors, but walked away because he didn't need the grief! Let me emphasize once again that this is an extreme case; however, as you can see, it never hurts to investigate a neighborhood thoroughly before buying a home!

But there's also another important reason for you to talk with neighbors; good neighbors can alert you to problems you may not be aware of; for example, basement flooding, termites, leaky roofs, etc.

When that happens, you can either look at a different house or negotiate with the seller to lower the price of the property!

The Best Way to Evaluate a Neighborhood and Its Value

The best way to evaluate a particular neighborhood is write up a checklist of desirable aspects before you ever enter that neighborhood!

Below, I provide you with typical features (in alphabetical order) to check out. However, you should add as much detail as possible to that list since everyone has different needs and wants.

• Association fees (if applicable)
• Closeness to parks and recreation for the kids
• Crime rate
• Length of commute to work 
• Noisy pets (barking dogs, etc.) 
• Property taxes.
• Proximity to busy streets or main thoroughfares.
• Proximity to mall, shops, restaurants, etc.
• Reputation of school district
 • Sidewalks and running trails throughout the neighborhood.
• Type of families in the neighborhood, etc.

The list above has all the "objective" features of a neighborhood; that is, you can measure them, for the most part, by facts and figures.

Assuming a neighborhood meets these objective criteria, then it's time to analyze the "subjective" features by visiting the area.

Drive through the neighborhood to get an initial look. Do this at different times and on several different days to get a real feel for the area.

Assuming you like what you see, you should also get out and walk the neighborhood. You may well see things you missed from the car.

As I suggested earlier, talk to the neighbors to get their opinions of the neighborhood and the property you're considering.

I'd recommend you select a time when they're likely to be outside walking or in their yards (gardening, watering, mowing, etc.). That way, you don't have to knock on their doors and interrupt their personal time.

Since buying a home is such an important decision, you can see that it's vitally important to check both the objective and subjective features of a neighborhood. And, since it's my business to know every one of those aspects, I encourage you to contact me so I can fill you in on the "neighborhood value" of an area you're interested in! Contact me today!

1 comment :

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