5 Ways to Vet a New Neighborhood

Purchasing a home is a huge commitment. Not only is it a large financial investment, but it also can influence your safety, education, lifestyle, and relationships. As such, it’s essential to vet your new neighborhood to ensure it meets your needs.

Check Out Neighborhood Safety Stats

When choosing a new home, it’s vital to check out the safety of the neighborhood and factor that into your final purchasing decision.

Crime-watch technology provides multiple resources that allow you to check neighborhood safety ratings and crime statistics. It’s also wise to speak with the local police department or community officer and discuss property and violent crime trends in the area. If the neighborhood is riddled with break-ins and burglaries, you may wish to stay clear and purchase a home elsewhere.

Also, check the national sex offender database as well. This resource will give you a visualization of where sex offenders live in proximity to your potential home.

Observe Your Surroundings

You can quickly assess a neighborhood based on upkeep and general maintenance. Well-maintained homes are usually a sign that you’re looking at a good neighborhood where residents care about their property.

Explore the Neighborhood

It’s important to  consider the neighborhood and location in addition to the home itself. You may have found your dream home, but if the neighborhood is subpar, or lacks important features and resources, it may be worth reconsidering. Before purchasing a new home, ask yourself these questions and see how they play a vital role in your day-to-day lifestyle.

What are the demographics? Is this neighborhood composed of an older generation or is it mainly families with young children? If you are looking for a quiet neighborhood to retire, you may not like one with teenagers driving around or kids playing in the yard constantly.

How far is your commute to work? You may have found an amazing home, but if your commute to work just increased an hour each way, the location may not be ideal. Think about your drive to work or school when considering which neighborhood to settle down in. If you rely on public transit as your primary means of transportation, it’s important to note your proximity to bus or metro stops.

Are restaurants and grocery stores nearby? Are you particular about which grocery store you shop at? If organic, locally grown food is essential to your lifestyle, keep this in mind when assessing the neighborhood. How will your new home’s location impact your routine?

How are the schools? If you have children, this is one of the most important questions to ask yourself when vetting a neighborhood. Consider the route to school as well as the teacher reviews and school rankings.

Are you located near public parks and community centers? If you enjoy parks with your children or the dog park with your pooch, keep these activities in mind when choosing a neighborhood.

Meet Your Neighbors

Neighbors can be your best friends or your biggest source of annoyance. You may not always get along with all your neighbors, but they can be a great resource to rely on. When scoping out a neighborhood or after purchasing a new home, try to get to know the people around you. You can rely on them to protect the community, watch your kids or pets, or house sit while you’re on vacation.

When first moving into a home, take the initiative to

  • Introduce yourself and your family and pets
  • Connect via social media
  • Join local neighborhood watch groups or local activity groups

Safeguard Your New Home

While choosing a safe neighborhood is a great first step in the home buying process, no one is completely safe from home break-ins. Therefore, it’s important to take the necessary steps to secure your home.

Install a security system and cameras: With a break-in occurring every thirteen seconds in the United States, it’s smart to invest in a security system and cameras. Also, if you live alone, a security system is a great way to feel safe in your home.

Maintain your yard: Well-maintained yards repel burglars as they offer no coverage or hiding places. Thieves target homes with easy hiding places, like over-grown bushes and unruly. You can safeguard your home simply by maintaining the property.

Improve lighting: Proper lighting is a key factor to making homes and neighborhoods safer. Make sure your home and driveway are well-lit. Assess the street lighting in your neighborhood as well; and if necessary, talk to the city about installing new lights to brighten the streets.

Many factors go into purchasing a home. While affordability, style, and size are important, it’s just as important to assess the neighborhood and local community before making your final decision on where to locate.

About the author: Sage is a safety expert for SafeWise. She enjoys teaching, individuals, families and communities about safe home and lifestyle habits. In her free time, she enjoys wedding planning, traveling and learning French.

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