When you drive up to your dream home it’s difficult to imagine a substitute residence, especially if you are a first-time buyer. Its curb appeal is unbeatable, you think to yourself.
But there are a number of things to consider before you take the plunge.
Location is one of the big factors.
Even in a down market people are willing to pay more for a home when the conveniences and other features indicate a favorable property.
Check out the conveniences and ask yourself some questions. Is the neighbourhood safe? How about the schools? Are they among the best?
Real estate agents used to provide buyers with information about crime and whether the home was in a safe neighbourhood, but that may now be more difficult to come by as the National Association of Realtors warned in a recent issue of Realtor magazine that agents should not disclose crime statistics, state that a neighbourhood is a safe place to live or mention anything about the quality of the schools.
Agents must not violate Fair Housing Act steering guidelines. Agents are now suggesting that clients contact police for crime data and set up personal visits to schools for their quality performance data.
Some other things to think about include:
Noises and Smells: Are sounds from trains audible at bedtime? What about fire truck and ambulance sirens? Is freeway or factory noise constant? Are odors from a landfill obvious?
Construction: The city will know if planned roads and open land developments are acceptable.
Be Observant: Is the street a main thoroughfare for kids and teens, especially after school? Chat with neighbours if possible. A walk up and down the street will reveal barking dogs, and too many cars parked in driveways may indicate renters who don’t take pride in maintaining their properties. At night, watch out for drag racers and/or band rehearsals.