You’ve no doubt heard the old saying that only three things matter when it comes to real estate: location, location, and location. That is, of course, a cutesy and oversimplified piece of advice, but it’s still worth heeding, especially with respect to determining the safety of a neighborhood before buying a home. For location and safety go hand in hand, and you need to know before you buy. So be sure to check out these 5 resources to help you judge the safety of a neighborhood before buying a home.
1. Crime-Mapping Services
Certainly, one of the best ways to determine the safety of a neighborhood before buying a home is to look into the local crime rates. There are plenty of online venues that will allow you to do this, but a couple of the more reliable sites are CrimeReports and SpotCrime.
You simply type in the address of the prospective home, and you’ll get a list of all the crimes committed in the area. Typically, you’ll get a breakdown of crimes by type and date committed. There is also a feature to allow you to compare the number of crimes committed in this neighborhood with crimes in other nearby areas, thus giving you an idea of how crimes in your prospective neighborhood stack up against those in surrounding areas and neighborhoods.
But you also need to be aware that crime rates don’t always tell the whole story. For example, the size of the neighborhood can skew the results because crimes committed in a small neighborhood will yield a higher crime rate.
For assistance interpreting crime-rate results, contact a agent. To discover more, just call 866-593-7012.
2. National Sex Offender Public Website
Also, when it comes to crime rates and the safety of a neighborhood before buying a home, it pays to drill down a little and get more specific. A great resource for parents considering a particular neighborhood is the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) – a free resource that provides information on registered sex offenders.
“Not only can you look up your current neighborhood to check for nearby offenders, but you can also investigate any potential new neighborhoods before relocating to an area. This tool is particularly helpful for those with children, as the website allows parents to access important information on any child predators in the neighborhood, and includes a photo of the offender. The website also provides important tips and advice on protecting yourself and your family from potential victimization.”
AreaVibes is an online tool that allows you to easily check out a neighborhood before buying a home. It analyzes various communities and gives them a “Livability Score” of up to 100 based on important livability factors such as amenities, schools, cost of living, and the local housing market.
“AreaVibes also analyzes a neighborhood’s crime rate. All you have to do is enter the address, neighborhood, or zip code to see your city’s Livability Score and rankings. Within each city, AreaVibes provides a ‘Neighborhoods’ tab, which can be used to find specific information on individual communities. These neighborhood crime reports will give you a general idea of the safety level of that area.”
This tool will give you a good idea of the following:
- A neighborhood’s overall crime statistics and crime rate
- How it compares to both the state and national averages
- The likelihood of your becoming a crime victim there
4. Your Feet and Your Mouth
A highly effective way of judging the safety of a neighborhood before buying a home is simply by using your feet and mouth – that is, by walking around the neighborhood, observing and talking to residents. Online research works, but it just can’t beat in-person, local observation, taking in the small details, and chatting with people who live there.
But do try to visit the neighborhood on both weekdays and weekends and at different times of the day. For example, your new neighbor’s kid might get his drum kit out only during evenings or at weekends. And there might have been a reason the student house on the other side was so quiet on the morning of the open house: Its residents were too hungover to get up after one of their frequent all-night parties.
Neighborhood residents will have the best insight into what actually goes on in the neighborhood and what it’s really like. Talking to them will allow you to find how safe the neighborhood really is and just how well it will really suit you.
5. Consult Your Agent About the Neighborhood Before Buying a Home
And definitely make a point to talk to your local real estate agent about the neighborhood. Your agent will have a good handle on the safety of a neighborhood and its suitability for you and your family, having a thorough understanding of crime rates and neighborhood personality. So to accurately judge the safety of a neighborhood before buying a home, contact us today at 866-593-7012.