The excitement when you find the home of your dreams is exhilarating. Before you get too carried away though, it's important to consider the neighborhood around your dream home. If your dream home is in a nightmare neighborhood, your excitement could turn into regret after you're settled into your new house. Here are 5 warning signs to watch for when considering the neighborhood surrounding your dream home.
1. Poorly maintained homes and yards dominate the neighborhood. Despite the common misconception, rundown homes and unkempt yards have little to do with affluence and more to do with pride. A neighborhood with a high amount of poorly maintained homes and yards is a neighborhood that has lost its pride. This can happen for a number of reasons that you can guess at but ultimately the concern for you as a buyer is how that kind of neighborhood will impact the value of your home over time.
2. No place to park. Parking issues are particularly common for condos and townhomes but can also be a problem for some older homes in densely built neighborhoods. No parking or very limited parking can seem like an issue you can cope with during the day but in the evenings and on weekends when more people are home, your family and friends could end up circling your block for a frustrating amount of time looking for parking.
3. Too many homes on the market. If the street of your dream home is several blocks long, two or three other homes up for sale is fairly normal. However, if every other house throughout the neighborhood has a sale sign in the yard, this is a warning sign. What could cause so many homes to be listed at once? A number of factors, such as increased crime, aging out (older people selling to downsize or move to retirement communities), problems with the way the homes were constructed (common in single-builder neighborhoods) or unusual pricing pressure. It's important to understand why there are so many homes for sale before signing on the dotted line for your dream home.
4. Shrinking class sizes at neighborhood schools. Like any warning sign in our list, the reason behind it is important. If class sizes are shrinking in the neighborhood schools because there are a large number of families whose children have moved on to college, this is less cause for concern than if parents are overwhelmingly opting to send their kids to charter schools or private schools. If parents are opting for charter and private school options, it could mean the neighborhood schools are in significant disrepair or are poorly run. If you have children of your own, this is important to know before you buy.
5. Very industrial area and/or large number of empty storefronts. Two things tend to happen when home values drop significantly in a neighborhood over time. First, the land becomes desirable to industrial businesses who prefer to score land as cheap as possible. Second, locally-owned shops and stores relocate or go out of business as the affluence of the neighborhood declines. Both things are signs of a neighborhood on the downslope. Additionally, some types of industrial businesses increase risk of health issues for people living in the surrounding area.
When you find your dream home, you want to make sure it's not in a nightmare neighborhood. These 5 warning signs will help you determine if the neighborhood surrounding your potential new home could be a problem. If you have questions on any neighborhood in the Grand Strand, your Century 21 agent is your best resource to get the inside scoop.