Whether you are buying a home to live in or buying one because you want to use it as an investment property, a good neighborhood is one of the most important considerations.
Although focusing on location before property appears to be counterintuitive, and it is not what most people do, there is sound logic to narrowing your selection to the best cities in your state and then finding the best neighborhoods in that city. Even if you’re quite enamored by the look of a house and its price, you should get as much information as possible on the new home you’re thinking of buying. Of course, you should also weigh what is important for your family when it comes to a home.
What Is A Good Neighborhood?
When talking about good and bad neighborhoods, this is actually not a discussion about rich vs. poor areas. Instead, it’s looking at things like safety, community, and convenience. So a good neighborhood is one where the economy is stable and there are schools, libraries, and business districts within close proximity.
Even if you don’t have any young children, a neighborhood nearby will help with the sale of your house should you decide to move away in the future.
If it seems that you can’t afford a good home in some desirable locations, you may want to consider improving your credit rather than opting for a cheaper house in a bad neighborhood.
Run a Home Background Check
When thinking of buying a home, it’s important to do a “background check.” Look into the house’s history of break-ins. See if the area you’re interested in is considered a good or bad neighborhood. Sometimes, you can tell just by looking at the other houses. At other times, appearances can be deceiving. Additionally, find out about previous owners and anything else you can dig up about the house or its neighborhood.
In an article on How to Check a House’s Background, Leigh Thomas outlines the primary reason why this is so important:
“By investigating the property’s background, you minimize surprises later when you attempt to insure, sell or modify the property. Information on a specific property is scattered among a variety of resources — some are free; some cost money. It is worth the small fee to lower your risk in purchasing a bad property.”
She suggests at least 3 ways to do it:
- Go through the county agencies property records.
- Buy a CLUE report. CLUE is an acronym for Buy a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange Report. This report is something used by insurance companies.
- Ask the seller for a Seller’s Disclosure Report. This will give you information on any health hazards related to the property—from lead pipes to the risk of wildfires.
After you buy your home in a nice neighborhood, this does not preclude investing in home security. While your neighbors may be principled, trustworthy people, thieves may come from other parts of your city. Burglars like to go where the money is. It’s much more profitable for them to rob better homes rather than those in rundown neighborhoods. Even a middle class home will have better television sets than homes in a rough neighborhood.
When it comes to home security, you can do it yourself. You can get a guard dog, install alarms, buy padlocks for doors and windows, and even set up your own surveillance cameras.
While these measures are better than none at all, they are far inferior to what you can get if you hire a home security company to do it for you.
The costs can be comparable, too. It would cost you about $1,500 if you were to install state of the art security for your home yourself. If you had to hire someone to do it for you, picking out the right equipment and installing it, then it would probably run you closer to $2,500-$5,000. On average, a home security company will charge you about $40 a month, which comes to about $480 a year.
A home security company will monitor your home around the clock from a remote location and dispatch security agents or inform the local police if there is any suspicious activity around your home. Their systems are so sophisticated that you can even check on your home when you’re on vacation. SecurityChoice.net explains one of the major new benefits of home security systems: “They allow remote access to your home — meaning that you can get readings from the home security system from any location with an Internet connection. Even if you’re half a world away on a well-deserved vacation, you can still check in on your home with just a few quick taps of your finger.”
If you buy a nice home at a great price in a bad neighborhood, you risk break-ins, and if you want to rent or sell it, you will find almost no interest in it. So, all things considered, it’s better to find a house that needs some work at a higher price if it’s in a good neighborhood. Once you’ve found your dream home in your dream neighborhood, you should considering protecting your investment with a home security system.
What are some ways you keep your home safe?