Six Ways to Determine If Your New Neighborhood Is SafeBy - 07/24/2015
You’ve done it. You’ve found the perfect home for your family. It has everything you need and it’s picture perfect. Before you sign on the dotted line, you need to take a step back to make sure that your little slice of heaven is located in an area where your family will feel safe. We have six tips that you can use when researching a new neighborhood.
ONE: Go Back at Night
More than likely you visited the home during the day. I’m sure everything was peaceful and bright and cheery but things can look completely different at night. Are there groups of people hanging out on the sidewalk? Is there loud music playing from a house? Is someone having a house party on a school night? It’s really a good idea to view a house a second time anyway as it removes those notorious rose-colored glasses. So why not make your second visit at night? Checkout the home’s lighting and scour the neighborhood to make sure it’s a place where you would feel safe raising your family.
Two: Go Back During Heavy Rain
If you are fortunate enough to experience torrential rain during your house hunting season consider the rain a blessing. Is rain running toward the house? Is a nearby creek now a raging river?
Rain that diverts toward your property can cause flooding. Flooding can create all sorts of issues including safety issues and even health concerns. Think mold, termites, structural damage, and of course there are worst case scenarios that I don’t even want to mention. Diverting rainwater can be a simple process so this shouldn’t be a buy or walk away criteria. Diverting a creek that has turned your property into an island is another situation all together.
Three: Talk to the Principal
Visit the local high school before making an offer. While walking the halls do you feel safe? Are the kids well-behaved? Are there fights? These kids are your neighbors but they will also be the greatest influence on your own children. Keeping your family safe is about putting them in the best possible situation and a lot of times that means setting them up for friendship success. While there are good and bad kids at all schools there may be some obvious red flags when visiting. Also, you should talk to the school about any safety measures they have in place like an onsite police officer, disaster plans, or their policy for allowing visitors to enter the building. If a school visit isn’t possible you can do online research by using websites like Greatschools.org.
Four: Talk to the Police
A quick call to the local police department is also a good idea before buying a home. Some law enforcement agencies may provide online crime mapping and others may be willing to talk to you about your future neighborhood while sharing any recent crime trends.
Five: Checkout Sex Offenders
There are multiple laws in place under Megan’s Law including the requirement that every state must have a system for monitoring registered sex offenders. The decision on how to share information and what information to share is made at the state level so the best way to research is by looking at state websites or by using national databases like Family Watchdog.
SIX: Talk to a Neighbor
While this may be the most ineffective option of the bunch for multiple reasons, it never hurts to talk to the neighbors. As they live in the neighborhood they may have a skewed perspective of the environment so stick to benign questions like asking if there are any malicious dogs that run lose, about any recent crimes, and ask if any of the properties nearby are abandoned. Who knows? You might even make a new friend.