What Research Should You Do Before You Start Looking at Houses to Buy?

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Buying a house involves more than looking at houses and falling in love with one. There are things you should check into before making an offer on a property and even before you start looking at houses. Here are some tips that could help to protect you from making a purchasing mistake.

Neighborhood and Community

Check out the neighborhood and local area of a home that interests you. Drive around during the day and at night to get a sense of the neighborhoods and nearby residents. If there are shops in the area, see how busy they are at different times of day. Pay attention to how noisy the area is, especially if you are looking for a quiet neighborhood. You should also look to see who lives in the area. Are you looking for an area with a lot of families or are you looking for an area with fewer kids running around? If you have children, you should check out the school ratings as well, even if they’re not quite school aged yet.

Crime Rates

You can look for online crime stats in the area you’re considering looking at. By looking at the county’s property listings, you can also check for vacant homes that were once drug houses before making a purchase offer. Sex offenders may also be listed, so you can find out where they live in proximity to the property you are interested in. Look to see if crime rates have increased, declined, or remained about the same over the past few years.

Property Values

Compare the property values of nearby homes to see what they are selling for and how that relates to the home you are thinking of buying. Low property values could mean your future home might lose value in the future. Neighborhood homes that are abandoned or falling into disrepair might signal a neighborhood decline that could affect your home’s value and potential for future resale.

Real Estate Services

Your real estate agent will also be doing research, and they can be an excellent resource as you do your research. If you’ve picked out a property you’re interested in, see if your agent is familiar with the property’s history. They can also show you comps of similar homes nearby that have recently sold or are on the market to give you an idea of what you should offer for the home you want to buy. Real estate services can also find out about property taxes, home insurance, and average utility costs to help you make an informed decision about whether to make an offer.

The more you know about a home of interest, the better prepared you will be to decide whether to try and buy it, and if so, what type of offer to make. Work with your real estate agent to get as much information as possible to make a decision that could affect you for many years.


Anita Ginsberg is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, and family. A mother of two wonderful children, she loves traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can find her on Twitter @anitaginsburg


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