8 Considerations Before Closing On Any Property



When it comes to finding a new home, you’ve probably been careful enough to check crime rates and find out about the local school systems in the nearby neighborhoods. However, if you’re like many people, that may have been where your research stopped. Crime rates and the quality of school systems aren’t all that’s important when it comes to finding your new dream home.

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photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc

Here are eight questions you should ask your agent before you close:

1. What Restrictions does this Neighborhood Have?

Buying a home in a historic district may sound glamorous – that is, until you are forced to abide by the restrictions these areas typically possess. Likewise, certain housing developments may also have stringent bylaws that would make homeownership not only expensive, but restrictive as well. Before buying property in any neighborhood that imposes restrictions, be sure to read all of the bylaws with your agent, and consult with an attorney if you are unsure about anything.

2. What is the Local Tax Rate?

If you are simply moving across town, you might assume the tax rate would be approximately the same as in your old neighborhood. This is not necessarily the case, as property tax rates can vary significantly from one part of town to another. If you’re moving to a new town, you should not only find out what the property tax rate is, but the amount of sales and local tax as well. Even an increase of one or two percentage points can really add up over time, which is why all tax rates in a given area should be considered carefully.

3. Insurance Rates

Like tax rates, insurance rates can vary widely from one property to the next. It can be a good idea to obtain at least a couple of quotes on a particular piece of property before you make an offer.

4. Connectivity

It can be difficult to know what type of connectivity a neighborhood has without some additional investigation. For this reason, you should contact a number of Internet providers to see what type of services they offer in that area. It will also be helpful to know which carriers have cell phone towers nearby, and what their proximity to you would be. Finally, to get a true picture of connectivity, discuss with your agent what other residents in the neighborhood have to say about their experiences.

5. Noise Levels

Certain things such as railroad tracks and busy highways are strong indicators that an area may be plagued by noise. Even so, there are other things that might not be as obvious, yet might still be cause for concern. Being located near a park could seem attractive to you, until you discover that people are constantly coming and going from it. You might also not be aware of so-called “neighborhood nuisances” until after you make a purchase. For this reason, plan on visiting a particular property at various times of the day and night (especially on weekends) to get a clearer picture of how quiet a neighborhood really is.

6. Light

The amount of light in a given neighborhood is also important, as too much light can disrupt sleep patterns. If you live near a radio or cell phone tower, the light from this tower could actually be more troublesome to you than you think. Likewise, so could the lights from shopping centers, traffic signals or other businesses. If the area around you will be well lit at night, think about whether or not this would disrupt your sleep patterns, or consider purchasing room-darkening blinds to help reduce glare.

7. Transportation

What amenities are within biking distance of your new residence? Would you be able to make a quick trip to the grocery store or pharmacy? What about local amenities such as the post office or library? You should also think about whether or not there are well paved paths that would make it safe for you to travel on bike as well.

Even if your neighborhood has a high bikeability and walkability score, chances are you won’t be able to walk or bike everywhere you go. For this reason, you should consider the types of transportation that are available as well. Knowing you can rely on bus or taxi service if need be can provide you with peace of mind should you ever find yourself needing to depend on them.

8. Local Government Representation

Who would represent you locally, statewide or nationally if you were to move to a particular neighborhood? Do these representatives hold viewpoints that are similar to your own? It can be a good idea to check the voting records of these representatives, or contact them personally to get a feel for their values.

By thoroughly checking all these factors, you will be in a better position to know how good a fit a particular neighborhood will be for you and your family. The time you spend will be well worth it in the end, as a home is a long-term purchase that must be considered very carefully if you are to maximize your enjoyment of it.

 

hdhAbout the author: Chad Dannecker is team leader of Dannecker & Associates. With more than 40 years of local real estate experience, Dannecker & Associates have established themselves as the leading source for condos in San Diego.

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