Location, Location, Location
One of the most important aspects of any home that you move into is, without a doubt; the area. Homes may look fantastic online, but there is always the possibility that the area this fantastic home is in may not be the ideal location. Before you move to any new town, subdivision or city, it’s a good idea to do a little research and find out as much as possible about the place that you are considering calling home. Different planned developments even in the same town may have drastically different personalities.
The logical place to start asking questions is to your realtor. Whether you are moving from a distance away, out of state or even out of country you may want to try to find a realtor that specializes in the area that you are interested in. Realtors are a great source of information and usually they know more about a given area than just about anyone.
In finding out about a new area there are some definite things that you will want to find out about. Start by finding out about the area itself. Is it an industrial town? Tourism Based? What kind of atmosphere can you expect when moving there? The next things that you should consider are the employment market and the education system. It's always comforting to know what kind of job environment is in the area you are moving to. Is there room for your career to flourish? Additionally, even if you do not have children, knowing the education system is just a good idea. It is one of the things that people usually consider important in a new town, and if you must move again; a home in a good education district will fetch a higher price.
One of the best ways to get a feel for the town or neighborhood is to spend time driving or walking around it at different times of the day. Consider going for a run or a walk around the neighborhood where the home is located. Maybe drive through the property on Saturday night to see if any of your potential new neighbors will be throwing raucous parties. If you see any of your potential new neighbors outside, don’t hesitate to introduce yourself and ask what they like about the neighborhood.
Another great way to familiarize yourself with the area is to spend a lot of time on Google Earth. Are there railroad tracks nearby? Will a nearby school crossing or traffic light make you late for work? Is the home located in a golf course neighborhood where the golf course is on the brink of shutting down? Are there power lines nearby? Where is the nearest landfill? Do your homework to check if the property is in a flood zone on the FEMA website. Check the county Sheriff’s website to check for sex offenders nearby. In Florida, it’s the FDLE Map. You can never be too familiar with the area where you’re going to be purchasing a home.
Try to find out what the future hold for the area too. This can usually be accomplished by talking to your realtor, but also seeking info from the city itself. Find out if there are any development or expansion plans for the area. Things like proposed developments, both residential and commercial can drastically affect your property values. You will always be well served to stay cognizant of the future of any area that you move to. Keep in mind that potential developments and future plans can make or break an area, so the more info you have at the beginning the better.