This week I spoke with M&D’s own, Rick Sanchez about the top ten things to look for in a neighborhood, here are his top ten tips.

1.  Low Crime Rates quality schools and popular amenities. Neighborhood might not fit into your lifestyle. Make sure you find the right neighborhood culture first ask if you can see yourself living there. If you are looking for a hip urban redevelopment, you won’t be happy in a quiet, family-oriented neighborhood.

2.  Public and private schools, kindergarten through high school, and even preschools can greatly affect the value of a home. Good schools should be a priority on anyone’s list. Talk to the neighbors or attend a PTA meeting. Tour and  take your children along. Research school’s sports and other after school activities, as well as academics.

3.  Neighborhood’s crime rate stacks up against your current one or others in the area your real estate agent should be able to provide this information. Speak to the local police office for more details. Drive the neighbor hood at different times of the day and night. Listen for trains and traffic noise.

4.  Visit the cities Planning and Zoning committee.  Attend a city meeting. The planning office can inform you of any future construction projects or road expansions that would affect the neighborhood. 

5.  Check for Foreclosures Rental or Lease properties in the area. It’s important to check with your development or homeowner’s association about future houses in your area. You might think a street lined with foreclosures may be an opportunity to purchase at a good price for investment purposes.  Too many foreclosures might be a sign that the neighborhood is in a bad place. So, if you find a neighborhood full of foreclosures, empty houses or even for rent signs, make sure you do your homework to find out whether it’s financially stable.

6.  Centrally located convenient location – Your neighborhood can affect your happiness — and your wallet. Is a shopping center and restaurants, pharmacies and Emergency Hospital nearby. Check the distance to work and easy access to Freeways and Thoroughfares. Check your commute time during peak hours.

7.  Community activities available to your family whether it be Karate, Dance, Library, Exercise Gym or Senior Centers. Retired couples, however, may be more attracted to a neighborhood that is devoted to active seniors, or one that is close to family, or even a social club that hosts weekend parties or dances.

8.  Taxes and Expenses – You may be responsible for pricey homeowner’s association fees. And these fees come with rules as well, so you’ll want to understand those completely before making a decision. Property taxes are another significant cost might be overlooked — especially if they are escrowed and you pay them as part of your mortgage payment each month. 

9.  Sidewalks and Trails – Sidewalks can say a lot about a community. If you’re looking for an active place to live, sidewalks can be a good indicator that there are places like parks and other amenities nearby. Sidewalks also make neighborhoods safer. Whether you’re walking to the grocery store, the corner restaurant or your neighbor’s house, you’re less likely to be hit by a car if you’re walking on a sidewalk.

10.  Hire a Licensed Realtor that can help guide you through your Real Estate Transaction. Leave the stress and legwork with your Realtor. A good Realtor can help you avoid costly mistakes and provide you the representation that you need.