The house looks nice and the price is right. It's close to work and schools. But is the neighborhood where it's located safe? This is one of the most important considerations to make when buying a house. It's not only important for your own well being, but also for your home's potential resale value. So how can you tell if the neighborhood is safe? Here are a number of ways.
- Walk the neighborhood at different times of day and night. Talk to neighbors to find out the history of the house and neighborhood. Chat up people in nearby businesses and other parts of town and ask opinions of the neighborhood. Exploring the neighborhood on foot allows you to notice things you wouldn't in a car, such as barking dog or neighbors playing drums.
- CrimeReports shows crime incidents in the area. Find out where local sex offenders live by visiting the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW). City-Data.com gives you a lot of crime information, along with other demographics such as ethnicities, incomes, and weather.
- Look on Google Maps to find the proximity of local businesses, medical facilities, bus stops, schools, grocery stores, and shopping centers. You can do this by typing "nearby" into the search bar after you've located the home's address. If you don't see what you're looking for, type whatever it is, like "hospital" or "firehouse" into the search bar. You can also view video of the neighborhood by dragging the peg man in the lower right-hand corner of Google Maps to an area you wish to explore.
- Check out rankings of local public schools. Schools with higher API scores tend to be the safest.
- To find rankings and ratings of local hospitals, use the Consumer Reports tool.
- Check with City Hall to see if there are new developments planned for the neighborhood, such as housing tracts, shopping centers, cell towers, etc. Also, seek information on previous deeds or encumbrances on the property or find out where you can access them. These can clue you into any changes that may have been made to the property or litigation that may have occurred.
Don't be afraid to explore all options, whether physically exploring the neighborhood, or using online tools, in order to fully understand the investment you're making. Any time you spend will be well worth it, not only for the safety of your investment but for your own peace of mind.
Our real estate agents are familiar with the more desirable neighborhoods in the area. If you're interested, they can advise you on your potential purchase or show you some of the other desirable South Bend homes for sale.
Contact us today to get advice on finding the safest home around.