There are so many things that you pay attention to while buying a home. Even the location must fit your budget. But, have you wondered whether it is safe enough to spend at least the next 5 years of your life staying in that neighborhood? Here are some pointers to ensure the same.
No matter where you decide to live, there are so many things that need to be kept in mind before you reach a conclusion. The house must suit your tastes and budget, fulfill any special requirements that you may desire and the location must meet your needs. The safety of the neighborhood is also an important factor that many of us pay little attention to.
If you are shifting to a new area, you must be aware of the local crime rate and whether you can deal with staying there for a long term. A family and a bachelor/bachelorette have diverse necessities from each other and, hence, different parameters to judge the safety of a neighborhood. But, ultimately, the most basic need that a house must fulfill is a safe neighborhood. You can use the help of the following guidelines to know if a neighborhood that you contemplate living in is safe.
How to Find a Safe Neighborhood?
American neighborhoods have become a lot more dangerous than they used to be five decades back. The increasing crime rate calls for full attention that must be paid while buying a house. It is easier now to research on anything because the Internet is loaded with information. Use it to know more about your prospective neighborhood. There are many websites like spotcrime.com and neighborhoodscout.com that offer their services to help you know more about any neighborhood’s reputation. They have ratings based on user reviews and statistics that rate the areas based on the type of crimes that have occurred over there in the past.
There are plenty of other sites online for the same purpose like:
If you are a single girl, better check out the rape statistics at the Uniform Crime Report on FBI’s website. You can also walk over to the town’s police department or other local authorities’ offices and place your queries. They will have the accurate data and dirt on every neighborhood with the latest reports. Also, check out the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public registry.
Another smart way is to ask people around in the neighborhood. It’s best for bachelors like you if you are planning on moving alone, else you can ask families living around to help you. Don’t just ask people who own the houses, also interview people who are staying on lease agreements or on rental basis, especially the newly shifted ones if you happen to find out. Friendly neighbors who care about their counterparts can make your stay safer. A well-kept neighborhood is a sign of a well-maintained area inhabited by a close-knit community. Crime scenes at such places are lower than others.
If you are moving in with children, avoid high traffic areas. You don’t want to stop your children from playing outside in future or have a mishap occur when they do. It’s not just about robberies that may take place over there, it is also about the safety of your children. Also, check out the rate of child sex offenders in the same area. Your child’s safety comes first. Also, you should try to find out if the neighborhood has appointed any security to keep a watch. There are many offenses that may take places ranging from hit and run to vandalism of property by rowdy teenagers, etc.
Stay Smart with Apps
Did you know? Your smartphone does not only help you stay connected to social networking sites, but it also helps protect you. How? Check out the apps! There are a few apps available that can contribute to your research about the safety of neighborhoods you are interested in. One such app that you can download on your iPhone is “Lethal”. It uses your phone’s GPS to locate you and how dangerous the neighborhood is.
It also tells you about the likelihood of natural disasters, animal attacks and diseases in that area. Android users can download “Safe Neighborhood” that gives you access to the National Public Sex Offender Registry. Search for the neighborhood and the app will show the area marked with the details of all sex offenders that reside there. Another app developed for the same purpose is “StrangerDanger”. It boats of displaying the most accurate information than any of its counterparts.
In older times, when there was no Internet, people took the help of newspapers to ascertain if a neighborhood was safe. Open the local section of your newspaper to find out about the ongoing crime scenes in different neighborhoods of the city. Apart from these measures, find out the selling history of the neighborhood. It will tell you if the neighborhood is one of the sought after areas. People are most interested in safer neighborhoods while vacated neighborhoods are a sign that something wrong may be going on. Always pay attention to minute details like congested area, broken windows, unmowed lawns, street lighting and the behavior of people. Listen to your instincts about buying a house. You won’t regret it later.
Post recession, many Americans have made a move to a more affordable neighborhood to survive on their low-income and savings. Do not be lured by cheap real estate rates. Apart from ensuring the safety of the neighborhood, make sure you go through the final checklist for buying a house before you make the big decision to spend your savings.