As a Windsor real estate agent, I often tell clients to take a test drive around a neighbourhood they are interested in at different times throughout the week. Buyers often look at me and wonder why I would offer them that piece of advice. Well you would be surprised that some buyers come back and thank me as they gained a whole new insight on the piece of property they almost purchased.
Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover
Yes, you may like the home you are considering, but how do the other homes rate? Is it a neighbourhood full of renters where upkeep is lacking? If homes look good during the day, are well cared for and have pride of ownership, then it’s a good chance that your neighbourhood will remain pleasant.
Drive around on the weekends, when neighbours are more likely to be outside. Are their children playing? Do your future neighbours look like the kind of people you want to live near? Do they look friendly? Do a pack of wild looking teens hang out at the corner? Are dogs barking? Neighbours fixing their car on the front yard? Do you get a warm fuzzy feeling when you drive by, or are you locking the car doors?
What Does It Look Like In The Evening?
Take drives in the evening, especially on a weekend, and see if your neighbours like to give parties. Do you feel safe? Do you see any activity that looks questionable? Is the street well lit? A neighbourhood can look a lot different when it’s dark outside.
Visit The Community:
Go downtown and check out some of the local shops and restaurants. Does your town have cute and trendy stores if that’s important to you? Or maybe you are looking for the larger chain stores. Is the town vibrant with lots of entertainment opportunities, or would you need to commute outside your area? Go into a local coffee shop and listen to other customers. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have a concern about anything. If you see a young family, ask about the school district or after school activities for example. It’s always good to get an unbiased opinion.
Check The Commute:
If you are wondering what the commute is like, there is no better way than to actually drive it during the hours you would be on the freeway. There are those that will tell you it’s a quick “15 minute drive,” to downtown, but then you realize it’s more like 45 minute bumper to bumper crawl. It’s also a good idea to listen to a local news/traffic radio station online and listen to the traffic conditions at the times you would be on the road.
Read Police Report:
Visit the local police department and see if you can get a local crime log. Talk to an officer and get their opinion about your neighbourhood. See if they have had any problems with the local schools as well. You will feel better once you know that the area you are considering is a safe one.
If you are serious about making an offer on a home, make sure to visit the local schools if you have children. See if the commute is reasonable or if there is school bus transportation available.
Don’t Buy If You Are Not Sure:
If you are unsure about a neighbourhood or town, then don’t buy until you are convinced it’s the right move for you and your family. Buyer’s remorse is never fun and on occasion we have seen this happen. Just google “I hate my house,” and you will see homeowners that want to move even though they just bought their home. Maybe a better option would be to rent until you find the property you desire.
Thoroughly researching your home and neighbourhood show that when you do make an offer, you are comfortable with every aspect of the property. Hiring a real estate agent that knows the town well will also ensure that you know everything you need to know.