….before you buy, especially if you are new to any town or city.
Also called the “try before you buy” method………
In a suburban neighbourhood it pays to note how many homes have well kept gardens
In the same vein don’t forget to notice the fence. Be it block or a white picket one, what’s its state of repair like?
Positive signs like these hint at the neighbourhood – perhaps it has retired folk who have the time to keep their front garden tidy – don’t forget that same time will likewise assist with security in the near vicinity.
From years of experience I can say that if I enter a property and its got a well kept front garden, a flower bed nearby, a pot plant or hanger near the back door….and I’m lucky enough to get a glance of a vegetable garden out the back, then I can just about be certain that inside be will just as tidy & well kept.
As I mentioned, from experience, that’s exactly how it turns out 99.9% of the time.
Conversely, sadly, the opposite is also true, if the outside appearance displays the opposite to those above, then it usually has the opposite look inside too.
The letterbox – does it look like the home is owned by someone who takes pride in their environment or is it damaged by a car driving too close, a year ago. If the car in the driveway is displaying those same “car meets letterbox” signs, 12 months later, then make up your own mind.
You might still love the house, but be aware things like this, if unchanged, may detract a future purchaser from buying your property, or moreover from buying in the street.
This could have the potential of having a detrimental effect in the medium to long term on “days to sell” and therefore local neighbourhood property prices.
Paint falling off or rust on the letterbox could also be viewed in a non-positive light.
Another good sign of a community is letterboxes that display Neighbourhood Watch stickers, obviously along with active involvement.
Do the properties surrounding your desired new residence have high perimeter fences?
You don’t want to find out that the fence 2 doors away, harbours 2 x aggressive dogs who bark at night at the slightest noise.
Get out of the car and go for a walk, just to see if there are clumps of dog poo on the streetside – possibly indicating a pet owner who doesn’t care nor take pride in their environment. Not the type of deposit you’d probably want to be cleaning up weekly off your kerbside patch?
If you happen to spot a dog or two, are its owner/s responsible enough to have a council registration tag on its collar?
Nor do you want to find out it’s a “vermin magnet” property that’s owned by a “hoarder” and hidden just beyond that high fence is a large collection of 25 years of personal belongings or items collected that “will come in handy one day.”
Visiting during the middle of the day is also handy for another thing too, you can see if there are any oil patches on neighbouring driveways, or old car parts / engines or bits of cars / bikes / tyres.
With in-filling so commonplace, many homes have their driveways or carports on the least sunny side and as a consequence either the side of the house, the eaves or the fence on the boundary usually dictate that these parts are in shady areas.
By visiting when the sun is almost directly overhead you stand a better chance of looking up the drive to see.
Don’t get me wrong, by itself oil patches on the driveway singularly don’t paint a picture, but if this is combined with many of the other things mention here then you may want to “add them up.”
And coming in at the No. 1 way to check out a neighborhood in advance of you purchasing there is…….
Make sure you go for a drive on a Friday or Saturday evening / night (Thursday night in some areas).
Recommend once just around/after teatime, and then secondly re-visit around your usual “going to bed” time.
That way you can check out the amount of cars in the street – is there any parking left on the street if you have relatives / visitors coming over?
Things you might not want to hear is music blaring from stereos, or 2 houses in the street having parties on the same night. Or too many car audio enthusiasts “cruising by” at night.
If there are quite a few cars about, and you have children or pets, take note that they are obeying the road rules/ speed limits while you visit.
Or if it is a quieter street at night, in the absence of traffic noise and the general day-to-day bustle of activity, you can now hear the humming noise emanating from that power company sub-station that you didn’t know was 150 metres away.
Sellers take note here – I have advised before about nightime drivebys – read up over here.