Articles,  Blog


Hey guys, it’s Kate here from Century 21.
Thank you for watching. So today my topic is going to be about what to look for in
a neighborhood. So there’s a bunch of things that you need to check out before
you buy property and the first one I’m going to go through is actually to do
with crime. So crime statistics. Now especially if you’re not that familiar
with an area this is really really important to check out. There’s actually a
few websites that you can go directly to just put in the address and it will pop
up with a map of all of these different crime statistics. So whatever’s happened
recently in the area and what category it falls under whether it’s auto
theft or assault or whatever it might be. So there’s three websites I wanted to
give you today one is spotcrime.com Another one is crimereports.com
and the third one is familywatchdog.us The family watchdog one is actually
more directly associated with sex offenders so it’s good to check out both or at least two of these websites I feel so that you can actually
really get a feel for how close the property that you’re interested in is to
potentially these these things that are going on in the area. It also just gives
you an idea of what the area is like so even if you’re in one like, even if
you’re in Santa Clara for example there’s going to be pockets
of Santa Clara that have more in terms of the crime statistics than other parts
of Santa Clara so it’s just important to be aware of that and see where
everything is falling into place. Now the second thing is conveniences. I think
this is something that everybody would immediately think of, so if the home but
you’re looking at buying is very close to conveniences like supermarkets, the
banks, the post office, things like this, then with like, cafes, nightclubs,
restaurants, any conveniences that you have in your area are going to up the
value of your property as long as it’s a positive convenience. So if you’re close to a supermarket it’s a really good thing because it’s so easy to get there. You
get the drill, so check out the area in terms of conveniences that are available
and that you can actually walk to or a quick drive to in like say five minutes.
Just know what it is. Okay now this will also, this will affect you if you’re
living in it as well as if you’re an investor and you want to rent out the
property because a lot of renters will be looking for convenient areas to live.
The third thing is to do with good school districts. Now if you’re a
single person or you don’t have children yet or if you just will never have
children or maybe you’ve done your children and you’ve moved on, then this
may not apply to you as much however you’ve got to look at the resaleability
of your property as well as if you’re an investor, how easy it would be to rent
out the property. Now the closer that you are to a good school district
or if you’re in the catchment of a good school district, this is a great
advantage and it’s something that you can market on your listings when you’re
selling or renting out the property. In terms of living in the property if you
have kids it’s really, like I know that you’re already looking at the school
districts because this is one of the first things that families will look for
when they’re looking into buying a property so yes, good school districts,
very important. The fourth thing is proximity to the city and to
major freeways. So this is obviously really important for people that are
commuting to work, so if you’re working in the city, like San
Francisco or you could be in the City of Oakland then the closer you are to the
city the better value is actually there, on paper in terms of being able to
sell it and and rent it out. It also makes your life more convenient and
easier while you’re living there. So the cutting down that commute is really
important and one thing I’ve really noticed in the Bay Area is that traffic
is just insane, I thought that Sydney was bad and
then I came here and I was like no Sydney has a really great traffic but it
is just one of the things that we have to deal with in the Bay Area, so that’s
why I do feel it’s really important to look at how you can reduce that commute
time. Yeah and also even just having that proximity to the major freeways is
going to make your life easier in peak hour. So next I would go to walkability.
Now you may have heard of this before. Walkability is actually a score that’s
given to properties so you can actually plug in the street name or the street
address into a website which is called walkscore.com. Now once you plug this
in what it’s going to do is actually give you a ranking for walkability and
also a transit score and a bike score so if there’s bike tracks, if
it’s easy to bike to the local shops or the city from where you are that would
all be increasing the score. So on walkscore.com you actually get..each property will have and each street will have a score from 0 to 100 where 100 is the
best and zero is the worst. So it would even go as far as if, like for example
Saratoga doesn’t have the best scores in terms of walkability, transit
score. An area where there’s, you know shops and conveniences which means that because the walkability score is low the website actually tells you this
is a car dependent area. So really good to know if you’re not so familiar with
the areas that you’re looking at and sometimes when were looking at places we
do look at outside of the areas that we know to try and fit everything within
our budget and just to evaluate the different options that are available to
us. So walkscore.com check it out. Next, I would like to talk about the immediate surroundings. So this is going to come down to looking
as soon as you come out of the house or the property, what is the environment
like? So is the environment are the properties in the street well-maintained
or are they sort of, badly maintained. Are the gardens well-maintained? Have the paint jobs being updated? Is the gate falling off the hinges? Things like this
So all of this maintenance, the level of maintenance in the area is important to
note because it actually tells you a little bit about how the community is
taking care of the properties and the better the community is taking care of
their own properties the better those properties will hold value. So it’s
actually not even just a subjective thing where you may not want to be
living in more of a run-down neighborhood it’s actually objective
because it will impact the sale price of your property. So there’s maintenance of
the surrounding streets and houses and also something that I’ve come across
time after time and it’s happened again a few weeks back, is if you see a
building that you’re not sure what that building actually is, it’s really
important to check it out. So recently for example, I took a client to see a
property and there was a building just right across the road, almost right
across the road, which looked a little bit, let’s just say it was a it was a
very large building that we weren’t really sure what it was. So I had a gut
instinct about it and I went ahead and did my research and to find that it was
actually a prison. So it’s just really important to know the answers
to these questions of like, what is that big building? What is that big monument?
That’s so close to the property and it could even be if it’s a
block away it’s just good to know what you’re buying into, because you don’t
want to buy and then you know, a month or two later you find out that something in
the area would have actually made you stop buying there. So yeah, check out what
those buildings are and do research. Don’t be too relaxed about that it’s
important to know what’s going on. The last thing that I want to talk about is
the noise and emissions potential so this is obviously where you’re going to look
at when when you have a property that’s close to the airport or close to the
freeways or major roads, train lines and yeah, even nightlife. Okay there’s gonna be
a positive and a negative to buying places that are so close to these
conveniences, so if you’re really close to the airport, it’s great if you travel
a lot but there is obviously going to be some noise pollution and even some gas
emissions from the aeroplanes so important to know what the flight path
is. I once lived in a place that was under the flight path and I did know it at the
time but I was really young and I just loved the apartment it was one of those
converted warehouses and I just didn’t want to say no to it, but literally the
airplane would pass over our building and it would look like it was gonna hit the
top of the building it was so low. So yeah there’s ways to deal with that too. We
had double glazed windows, you couldn’t hear with the windows shut. It was pretty
amazing but yes just important to check out especially if you don’t have double
glazed windows. So being close to those conveniences can of course increase the
value of your property when you’re something to keep in mind when you’re
buying and potentially thinking of selling, however you do also need to look
at the drawbacks of being so close in terms of noise pollution and even smells
and sound. All of these things are going to change the environment that you’re
living in and the noise and emission potential. So I hope that gave you a few
extra things to think about when you’re looking at properties over the coming
weeks. Thanks for watching and I look forward to seeing you soon.

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