It may sound obvious, but really you’d be surprised at just how many home buyers don’t put enough research into a neighborhood before signing on the dotted line. It’s a mistake you may make once in your life, but once only, as the repercussions can have you seething for years and having to live with a very bad decision.
Of course, there are going to be times when you simply love a house so much that you really don’t care about the neighbors, whether it’s some scary neighborhood wildlife, or a frequent freight train passing by, after all, I guess these are things that you can learn to live with, or can you?!
Joking aside, researching the neighborhood before buying a house is critical, especially if you’re looking at a more rural community, or a street on the outskirts of town as these will have far more challenges than a home in the center of town. There are many things you should consider when looking at different neighborhoods, and we’re going to tell you what those are, and why.
You don’t actually have to be living rural to have wildlife on your doorstep; even in the suburbs of many North American cities you could be dealing with wildlife all the time. Depending on where you are on the continent there are many different kinds of wildlife that can become a royal pain if they decide to keep visiting. Some of the more common pests include raccoons messing with your garbage, bears coming to feast on your fruit trees, skunks leaving their overpowering scent behind, and coyotes running riot. Those wily coyotes can cause no end of trouble, from killing your pets, to yipping through the night.
Oh and those adorable deer, aren’t quite so adorable when they start eating all those lovely flowers you just planted! Coming home at night can seem idyllic in the summer, when the days are long, but do you always want the worry of deer suddenly running out in front of you?
With such an extensive train network across North America it’s difficult to live close to a major town or city without having at least one rail track nearby, though to be honest the tracks don’t have to be that close by to pose a problem. Sound can travel for miles if the wind is blowing in your direction so even if a track seems like a long way off it can still be disturbing in the quiet of the night. And if you’re close to a crossing, every train that rolls through will have to hoot its horn. Once may not seem so bad, but freight trains can run all night long, disturbing your sleep again, and again, and again.
You may not think that wind could pose such a problem but a relentless wind can really wear you down. Some neighborhoods are windier than others, so consider the lay of the land – is the home on a promontory or hillside, or is it in an exposed position within a valley, where the wind can come charging through? That breathtaking view could really be breathtaking if the winds are strong all the time, and as you lie awake in bed at night listening to the trees creaking are you going to worry about one of them falling? Strong winds can also make it difficult to enjoy your home as patio furniture can end up on your neighbor’s patio, and growing plants, flowers and vegetables can be quite a challenge.
New Roads and Highways
Sometimes a great deal on a house can be too good to be true. Admittedly the seller may have no knowledge of something that’s planned for a couple of years down the line, but you can protect yourself by doing the research. If a new road or highway is planned, the chances are your searches will bring up some information on it as many highways, after all, are years in the planning. A six lane highway at the end of your yard will ruin your peace and quiet, not to mention your chances of selling the home for a decent price.
Ease of selling
That brings us nicely to the final point; how easy will the home be to sell? Your real estate agent should be offering you good advice on this, so respect their experience and walk away if they’re telling you this will be a difficult neighborhood to sell in. Selling probably isn’t on your mind right now, as you’re only just thinking about buying, but there’s bound to come a time when you want to move on, or you have to move on, and maybe you’ll need to sell the home quickly.
Points to look out for include how long the home has been listed for sale, as this is a telltale sign that it could be a difficult one to sell. The neighborhood itself is going to reflect on the ease of selling – if it’s a little rundown now, what’s it going to look like in a few year’s time? You may be willing to put up with a mess next door, but how many buyers will be able to look past that? And maybe you love living rural, but there are far fewer buyers for rural properties than there are for homes in town.