When searching for a new house, topping most people's list of requirements are the number of bedrooms, number and configuration of bathrooms, square footage, yard size - characteristics that are easy to compare, Architectural style might be important; asking price, certainly highly important, although many prospective buyers assume some wiggle room might be possible.
There are so many facts to consider, particularly when that new home might include relocating to the Boston area, that one extremely important factor sometimes gets short shrift: the neighborhood.
When I escort my clients on a tour of the properties they have decided to check out, I'm sure to remind them to observe the surroundings as well as the home. Some key details to observe about a neighborhood when relocating to Boston:
Noise levels will vary by hour and day. If at all possible, visit candidate properties at different times of day and night to get a feel for the noise level in the neighborhood. Is there a lot of traffic and honking? Trucks passing by? If so, does the traffic layout make them hit their brakes or upshift frequently? Is there a church nearby that fills the street with cars on Sunday? Will that be okay - or an annoyance? Are there noisy restaurants or pubs that might keep you up late at night on weekends? When you are relocating to a new area and can't visit often, talk to some neighbors: they have the real scoop!
Even if you don't have kids, it's important to learn the reputation of the area's school district: it will affect the resale value. Homes in better school districts are more desirable, and merit higher price tags as a result.
The Internet is a terrific asset when it comes to scoping out crime maps and reports for specific areas - often with free up-to-the-minute information and alerts on crime rates. A chat with neighbors can also help you sense the level of concern - or ideally, the lack of it.
As you approach an area, notice whether the road quality improves or falls off as you get closer. If the streets are crumbling and filled with potholes, community services may be suspect. Are the public parks grassy and clean? How handy are the nearest hospital, fire department and police stations? Before relocating to Boston, see if you can tell which neighborhoods seem to be on the rise. Any obvious trend has a good chance of continuing in years to come.
Relocating to Boston - even if just from one end of town to another - is an exciting prospect! If you're looking to buy a home in Boston this fall, it's time we got on your radar. Call us at 617.536.8000 or contact us today!