Is the condo more important than the neighborhood? It’s very difficult to say. However, when you think about it, you can redecorate a condo, but the same cannot be said for a neighborhood. If you’ve decided not to rent and you’re browsing condos for sale in downtown San Diego, it’s important you make sure you’ll be happy in the neighborhood.
Here’s how you can take the neighborhood for a test drive.
Hire local-savvy realtors
It’s arguably the biggest advantage of local real estate agents – their knowledge of the local amenities, the profiles of people who live in the area, local real estate market trends, local community issues and possibly, building faults. Local realtors also have a network of professional contacts, both in and outside the real estate market, so they could help you find the best local home remodeling contractors, plumbers, home inspectors, lenders, etc. You just have to find the best local real estate agent.
Use online research tools
There are quite a few online tools that enable you to do online research of the neighborhood you’re zeroing in on. The information you get there may not be the whole picture, but it could be a valuable piece of it. You can find out quite a number of things about an area, including job opportunities. An example would be www.neighborhoodscout.com.
Strike up a conversation with the neighbors
An informal conversation with the neighbors is a great way to scope out an area. It is best to approach a number of people, so that you can compare. You can also go to a local coffee shop or eatery and talk to the locals. This will really give you an idea of what it feels like to live there.
Check out the neighborhood at different times and days
When you find a condo that you really like, it would be a good idea to come back to scout the neighborhood at different times of day – like morning, afternoon and evening, and on different days – a weekday and on the weekend. This will give you more insight into the property’s environment. Are there noisy neighbors or parties? Is the traffic noisy? Is it too quiet or boring? Is the property under a flight path? You could find out a lot.
Research the schools and amenities close by
You should research whether the neighborhood has good schools even if you don’t have children. You may have them in the future, but not only because of that. Properties in neighborhoods with good schools tend to have a better resale value. You can research schools on sites like www.education.com and www.greatschools.org or you can simply run the schools’ names on Google.
When you’re buying a home, it’s good to think about it as an investment. Even if sports facilities are not an important amenity for you, they may be to someone you might sell your condo to in the future. This is just a simple example. Think about public transport, roads, street cleanliness and public services available.
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