Built At The Same Time And Crumbling Together
When you are house hunting and you are looking for any bit of information that will indicate of a good investment opportunity take a cruise around the neighborhood you are considering and just look at the condition. Before you lay out cash for reports and guides to an area try this simple trick.
Use your own senses to determine if the general area will be one in which you would like to live and spend time. Sometimes you can make some pretty conclusive assessments from the window of your car.
Look For Signs Of Decline
Real estate has a lifecycle over which it will build, thrive and then fade over time. Each building has its own life; some buildings will need replacement sooner, others later. What makes a truly long-term thriving neighborhood is the ebb and flow investment and how individual buildings change, so that there is always some growth to counter the decay.
Seek Signs Of Life And Renewal
A healthy neighborhood is one in which there is a relatively constant rate of change. Some of the things to look out for are mixed use, local amenities, a mix of building ages and a general sense of culture and community.
Older neighborhoods bounded by fast roads on all sides might have less potential to renew. They may lack the diversity that makes thriving mature communities so delightful. If all of the buildings are built and sold at once then they are likely to begin to decay at once.
Urban Homesteading Is A Thing For Some
Avoid neighborhoods with too many abandoned buildings and vacant lots. That is, unless you want to be some sort of urban pioneer, ignoring the dereliction to get a really cheap deal on land and buildings. The risk is that no one else sees it that way and the condition only continues to deteriorate.
The lack of municipal services can be a literal hazard. For example, if the fire department is overloaded and underfunded then the entire block could burn down before a house fire is under control.
This is an extreme case however; in fact many areas in decline will be renovated and regenerated by collaborations of government and local businesses. The time to invest in an area like this is after the commitments have been made and ground broken on projects that will help to heal the urban blight and return it to good use.
Using Your Own Senses And Judgment
So when you are house hunting keep this in mind: If it is a new subdivision are there covenants or other restrictions that will prevent renewal? If it is an older community is there a diverse array of property ages, and healthy well-maintained exteriors or are they unmodified and beginning to decay?
This is just one factor in your decision to choose a neighborhood or not but it is one that you can inspect easily with a calibrated eye by just driving around and looking. It could lead to a major decision and all with no fee greater than the tank of gas you use to do it.