Updated: Sep 12, 2020
After you purchase a property, there are some things that you can do to change or improve the property, but there are far more aspects of a property that are not within your power to control. That’s why it’s critical that you do your own research to ensure that the property you’re considering will truly meet your needs. I am here to help guide you in your research, but it is your responsibility as a property Buyer to do your own research and conduct appropriate verifications. Know what is important to you, and ask lots of questions. It is ultimately your responsibility to do the research on a potential property for purchase and verify that it meets your needs, and I will be here to help along the way.
All properties are unique, but this is a general list of what you should do to research a property:
Consider the Neighbors & Neighborhood
You can no more control your neighbors than you can stop the waves from crashing on the beach. Try to avoid getting tunnel vision when looking at your dream home by taking a step back and thinking critically about the neighborhood. Are people maintaining their properties in a way that’s consistent with your expectations? Are there junkyards and broken down cars in front yards? Are there overgrown yards or derelict properties? Over a long period of time, a neighborhood may transform, but you need to be comfortable living there now, so seriously consider the condition of the neighborhood. This will be different for everyone, and it’s absolutely your call to determine what is acceptable for you and your family.
Visit The Property At Different Hours
If possible, I recommend that you visit the property during different days of the week and different times of day. Swing by in the early morning to see what the activity level is like, drive your route to work to see what your commute might entail, come back mid-day if possible, visit after work when people are home, and come back on a weekend day to see how conditions have changed. You’ll get an excellent understanding of the neighborhood by doing this, and will gain insight into the feel and flow of your potential new neighbors.
Research the amenities in the community where you’re considering purchasing a property. Determine whether school districts will be important for your family now or in the future. Make personal visits to schools & daycares, community centers, parks, walking trails, gyms, medical care and shopping.
Call the City or County
It’s a great idea to go down to the City Planning Department to find out the history on the property you’re considering. Public records are available regarding permits, notices or violations, etc. The City and/or County can also help you research this history of a property and help identify any items that might require further research.
There Are Some Things Your Realtor Can’t Tell You
I guarantee you’ll get an unsatisfying answer if you ask your Realtor, “What are the neighbors like?” or “Is this a good neighborhood?” Due to Federal Fair Housing laws, your Realtor is prohibited from discussing or disclosing certain things about a property which could be construed as discriminatory. Some of these things include crime statistics, neighborhood demographics, whether a death or violent crime has occurred at the property, and whether a previous resident had AIDS/HIV. If any of these things matter to you, you’ll need to do your own research with the police department and local public resources.
I am here to help guide you in your research, so feel free to reach out any time.