29 Aug 5 Neighbourhood Red Flags
Whether you’re a REALTOR® helping a new buyer or buying a house yourself, there are a few red flags you should look for in a neighbourhood. This advice goes beyond the individual house that is for sale. The area surrounding a property is just as important as the actual home that is for sale. Not only will the neighbourhood impact the value of the property you want to buy, it also directly impacts quality of life. So spend an afternoon walking the neighbourhood before you buy!
1. Colleges and Clubs
It’s the middle of July and you’ve found the perfect home at a great price so you buy. Come September you realize the price was low because all of the units around you are occupied by partying college students. The same goes for a strip of clubs a few blocks away. Look beyond your own block and consider who might be living next door.
If you are moving to a newly developed area look into other housing projects completed by the same developer. If 9/10 of your neighbours have a faulty foundation built by the same contractor I would mark an immediate red flag. Leaky condos can be the best example where shoddy building materials or methods lead to years of expensive litigation. Save yourself the trouble and spend a few minutes researching who built your house.
3. Commercial Property
You’re buying a residential home so why should you look at commercial properties? Look at nearby commercial properties to get a sense of the community’s overall health. Too many boarded up shops not only looks bad, it means you have to go further for basics like groceries or a restaurant. A vibrant community will have few commercial vacancies.
If you have one car and a driveway you can skip this one. For everyone else, look at the street parking permits and any event centers nearby. Stadiums can jam up street parking for dozens of blocks, not to mention the traffic. If you’re coming home from a long day of work, the last thing you want to realize is that you have to park 5 blocks from home because there is a football game on at the local college (another reason to see red flag #1)!
It only takes a minute at city hall to see if areas around your house have zoning applications. Changing zoning can be time and cash intensive. You may think you’re buying into a quiet residential neighbourhood until you realize that the sign at the end of the street was to rezone the nice bungalow into a nightclub. Save yourself the headache and go for a nice walk in a several block radius around the house. You get to know your potential area better with a bonus of some exercise!