The Ultimate Guide to Researching an area before Buying a House

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Researching a property area before even considering a home purchase can save you time and prevent a regretful purchase. Doing the legwork ahead of time will not only familiarize with the area but also prepare for the unexpected. The tendency to rush through a house viewing and proceed with the deal will only spell trouble. With this guide you will know what to look for when browsing for homes in an area.

Search online

A quick search online will give show the average property price and recent sold price. Look for similar properties in the area with the similar features. This comparable will give an average figure on what you will be paying for and to check whether the prices are reasonable to purchase.

Do a drive by

The beautiful picture you see online on listing sites should only be for your eyes only. Cleverly edited and strategically angled photos may be deceiving. You should go and see the property in its true form even before viewing the house. This will give you initial thoughts and more time for consideration. Aside from that you might find a different property nearby that is more suitable for your taste. If possible do a drive by at different times of the day and night to see the changes in the atmosphere and feel of the place. Driving at night can give you an estimate of the occupation rate of a high rise or a housing area.

Direction

Some people may feel that the direction of the house is a concerned only adopted by ‘Feng Shui’ enthusiast, but the direction a house is facing can decide whether you might live in peace or discomfort. Its facing direction will be the difference between a bright and warm house to one that is gloomy and dark. If you are an avid gardener, the direction of the house will determine if your plants will bloom or wither away.

Local government bylaws

The different housing authorities designated have different bylaws and policies, whether it entails renovation restrictions and special rules that must be followed. It’s better to visit or call up to ensure you are not unknowingly breaking any laws and or risk getting fined. This can range from parking rules, recycling methods to botanical regulations.

Traffic jams

Traffic jams can be a real hassle, especially during peak hours and holidays. It can be a source of stress and a determining factor in your daily life, such as where to eat, shopping and commuting. If you have to leave your house early in the wee hours of the morning. Often high traffic areas have wider amenities and services to offer, but the congestion may not even be worth it.

Crime rates

If you live in a city, the crime level is essential for consideration. Sleeping with a piece of mind while commuting safely around the neighbourhood is important for a healthy well being and often high in priority on one’s purchasing checklist. The local newspaper can tell how often a crime happens in an area. One thing to add is that the crime level will affect the demand and the value of houses in the area. The site numbeo provides crowd sourced data which you can use to get a feel.

The residents

Just by glancing at pedestrians and your potential neighbours can give you a general feel of an area, talk to the people living in the area to get some local information on living there. Who knows? You might get an honest disclosure in the future house you might be living in.

Accessibility

Is it easy to get to public transport. Check the road conditions. Are there plenty of potholes? It may be a sign of neglect in road maintenance in the area or it is a sign that plenty of lorries and trucks pass by the area. This may be a safety concern to some people when they go for daily walks or leave their house for work. Additionally, it’s a bonus if your house is located next to a main road, but there might be traffic and privacy implications that come with it.

Amenities

Is there a supermarket nearby and a row of shops? Convenience is important and some people might overlook it until they start living in the area. Do you have to drive for half an hour just to get some groceries? List down all the must haves and check it along as you do your research. Check if there is a nearby gym, sport centre or swimming pool if you require one. Look out for public parks and public art displays such as fountains and statues, apart from the perceived rise in standard of living, it can boost the attractiveness of the area.

Ambience

Is the property located next to the highway? Is there a train track or upcoming rail development? Are you near an airport or underneath a frequent flight path? Is there a rowdy bar nearby or maybe a mamak store? The noise levels directly influences the quality of good sleep you will have when you live there.

Schools

Highly prestige schools are known to increase the property value of houses in the area. Homeowners owning homes in an area normally have a consistent stream of tenancy from students studying in nearby universities or families looking to move near the schools. If you are planning to send your child to a local government school, Check with them on their catchment area. Houses on the opposite site of an area may be registered under a different area.

Sufficient Drainage

In the recent case of the Penang floods, it is important to choose an area that is not flood prone or at least an area with better elevation and proper drainage. Check out the drainages around the area, in Malaysia, most drainage are openly exposed without cover to ensure maximum inflow of rainwater. Are they large enough to accommodate for a heavy rain? Are they filled and clogged with trash? Does the water look like its thoroughly flowing through? This is important as clogged drains are a health hazard, water born diseases and mosquito larvae thrive in these conditions, spawning a higher chance of contracting diseases and other illness.

It can be thrilling when you are planning to move into a new home but remember that a home is a long term commitment. Many factors come into play when moving to a new area that you are not familiar with but this guide will give you a upper hand when you know what to look for. The more informed you are, the better the results of your decision. We wish you the best on your next house hunt!

Find your dream home today!