by Teresa Larson, 20+ years year real estate experience
In our northern Utah cities as in all cities across the U.S. there are different parts of town that appeal to people. Our cities and towns have been rated, graded, categorized so it is not hard to do some basic research and leg work when purchasing a home. When people are relocating from other geographic areas and are not as familiar with the area they are moving to, some decide to rent first in order to become familiar with the area before they make a decision to purchase. This could be a wise decision as area is very important when it comes time for resale, not to mention peace of mind. There are a larger number of people who really don’t want to move twice and go ahead with a purchase. There are some things you can do to help you determine where you might want to live.
Based on demographics you can find out some interesting information about areas that you think you want to live. For example if you have kids you can see how many children are in the area. Demographics are available based on the age of the residents in a zip code. You can look at income per zip code to try and determine if you will be around people that are similar to you in your income status. You can find information about schools and crime reports online. You can look at City websites to try and determine if the area might be a place you would like to live. Smaller cities have smaller budgets and their websites are not as extravagant.
Once you have determined where you might like to live contact a real estate agent they can help you find your dream home a lot easier with you being in control as to where you really want to live. Sometimes that perfect area may not be available for your price point but a good real estate agent can help guide you to some area’s that might work based on questions they ask you. Real estate agents are often familiar with more local and detailed information than you can find through online sources.
Good Idea Do Some Neighborhood Due Diligence
Once you have found a home in the area and neighborhood you want do not stop there. Besides a typical home inspection that is always recommended when you purchase a home you need to do more. During your due diligence period visit the neighbors. The due diligence period is a time frame that the buyer and the seller have agreed to in the contract to purchase a home. You should try and get a due diligence period of 10-14 days and plan to take the time to find out everything possible about your future home and area. Asking for more than that may not be reasonable for a seller. If you find something that you can not live with during your due diligence period you then make sure you notify your real estate agent and the seller in writing that you are withdrawing your contract to purchase the home before the due diligence period expires. Keep in mind that you should do your neighborhood due diligence within the first few days of writing a contract as you will also want to get a home inspection on the home. The home inspection is also part of the due diligence period. I recommended you meet the neighbors and ask questions before spending money on a home inspection and appraisal. Your visit with the neighbors should include questions about the house. Tell them a little about yourselves and see how they react and an answer your questions about the house. Neighbors might know about problems the current owners may have had with the home. While you are gathering information you are also meeting the people who will be your neighbors. You could find out that you might be getting a super nice neighbor! You might find something that you really don’t like.
Do Some Leg Work
Visit the area during different times of day several times to check out the activity in the area and see if this is all okay with you also. Have your real estate agent check to see if direct neighboring homes are rentals. Sometimes rental properties are not maintained as well as owners would maintain them, which could affect your property value in the future. Your real estate agent can help you with this. Visit the city offices and find out if there is any information available that has been mailed out to the citizens of the area within the last year such as crime statistics or important notices that might affect your property. Gather information from credible live sources such as school districts, local police departments and city offices. Make some phone calls give them your new address and see what kind of information is available.
Online neighborhood Information
There is a lot of information available about neighborhoods online. Online entities and information gathering companies can provide plenty of information you will have to do some searching around to get the info you want. Consider where the information they are providing is coming from. Many sites want to collect a fee for information. There is plenty of free information available. It is important not to rely solely on information you have gathered online. You need to do the leg work so that you know what you are getting into as far as the neighborhood, neighbors and schools. You want to be truly satisfied with your new home purchase.
Below are some links that might help you in your research.
http://www.realtor.com/local locate standardized test scores for Utah and national schools. Other interesting information available.
http://www.uen.org/Districts/k12.cgi?grade=elem find addresses and information about Utah schools
http://www.greatschools.org/ find comments from patrons http://www.utah.gov/government/citycounty.html locate addresses and phone numbers to city offices
http://zipskinny.com/state.php?state=UT demographics by state
http://www.city-data.com/ demographics by state http://www.familywatchdog.us/ locates sex offenders and other crimes by street and zip code
©Teresa O Larson PC, 2014
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