Neighbhorhood Watch: Be Sure That You Are Purchasing a Home In A Safe Location Before Signing On The Dotted Line

When a homebuyer begins their hunt for a new house, they usually start to think in terms of how large they want it to be, how many bedrooms, bathrooms, what the education systems are in the area. However, what they should be asking is questions pertaining to the safety of the neighborhood. You likely won’t care how pretty the house is after you move in, if you’re dealing with break-ins every so often. 

You should know that when you ask your agent what you think about a specific house in a certain neighborhood, and if they think you should buy it or not, they are legally not allowed to share their personal opinion or offer their advice. Other than saying whether a neighborhood is expected to improve or decline, they aren’t able to say whether or not you should move there. You should also be aware that a neighborhood can’t necessarily be deemed ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Several things go into whether or not you can actually call a neighborhood safe as there are different types of crime. Here are some questions you should ask to be sure that you are purchasing a neighborhood in a safe area.

Are there any nearby offenders? People with a history of criminal convictions legally have to register their address with the local authority system. This information is then made available to the public. There are so many websites in which you can actually search to find out whether or not nearby offenders live in the area, and their exact address. You can find out if there are registered pedophiles, or sex offenders. This information will be important to you, especially if you have children. 

You’ll be shocked to find that even in an affluent area, there are offenders. This is why you cannot necessarily label a home as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ There are all different types of criminals. You’ll also be able to see pictures of the offenders, as well as where crimes were, along with where and when they occurred.

Were drugs ever made in the home? Many drug-labs are created out of a home residence. Therefore, there may be leftover toxic chemicals in the home that can impair health. This is especially important, because if you have tiny children, their systems are able to handle less toxic particles than adults. Even a small amount can kill an infant or a toddler. The seller should disclose this information. However, many homes that were once drug-labs end up being sold as foreclosures, so the owner won’t have much information; and, if they do, they aren’t obligated to tell you.

What sort of crimes is the neighborhood privy to? You must find out exactly where crimes occur and how they happen. Usually, a neighborhood will display a specific pattern. Some neighborhoods have crimes that only occur during at night. Some neighborhoods have a lot of break-ins, but no murders, rapes, or the like. Some crimes are considered violent, and others non-violent. This is why it is so important to find out what types of crimes occur, as there are all different types. You must also find out, because it will let you know if you should purchase an alarm system.

What (if any) anti-crime features does the house have? You should find out from the sellers exactly what anti-crime features that the house holds. This is important, because it will let you know if you need to upgrade the anti-crime features in the household. For example, security bars, video alarm system, or regular alarm system. You’ll need to know if these systems are old, and whether or not they need to be replaced or repaired. It is also important, because if there is an alarm system, you’ll have to have this changed into your name along with the other utilities. You also may discover that the home has no anti-crime features at all. This means that you’ll also need to budget for this. Anti-crime systems and features can be costly.

Does the neighborhood make an effort to fight crime in the area? How?

Many neighborhoods stick together to fight crime in the areas by creating a connection with the other homeowners in the area, and all of their neighbors. They may meet frequently to discuss the going-ons of the area. Be sure that you ask the seller (as well as neighbors) about any neighborhood associations, and when they have meetings, parties, or the like.

2 thoughts on “Neighbhorhood Watch: Be Sure That You Are Purchasing a Home In A Safe Location Before Signing On The Dotted Line”

  1. What if I am considering a home that is in an “up-and-coming” neighborhood? Is it ok to move somewhere that isn’t quite safe if it is projected to be in the future?

    • Hi Kathy,

      It depends. If you can’t afford a home in an affluent neighborhood, chances are you’ll have to decide whether you want to move to a different city where you get more home and a better neighborhood for less money. Or, you’ll have to settle on an ‘up-and-coming’ neighborhood. You must look at the growth that has occurred recently, and find out what changes are going to be made to the neighborhood in the near future. Are there any condemned homes which the city plans to tear down and develop into nicer homes? Talk with your agent in order to purchase a home in the best neighborhood you can. Good luck.


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