investigating Your location
The property itself is only one piece of the puzzle. Make sure that you INVESTIGATE YOUR LOCATION. The neighborhood and the particular “pocket” or block can be just as important to your long term happiness with your purchase.
While we want to help in every way that we can with your purchase, this is work that you really need to do yourself. No one but you can evaluate what pieces of information will be the most important regarding your future living location. All of these research tools do not cost anything! Do your free investigations before spending money on inspections or appraisals.
NEIGHBORHOOD RESEARCH CHECKLIST
1) WALK IT
Walk around the neighborhood (especially your block) during the day and night. You’ll learn a lot just by walking around and looking at the surrounding homes and businesses. Keep an eye out for the condition of the homes, the quality of the businesses, and whether you bump into a lot of other folks walking around, too. Take note of how long it takes to get to your local grocery store and park.
2) BIKE IT
Are you a bike commuter, or just like to get around by bike? Now is a great time to give the commute a try to see if it will be doable for you. Check out the local bike paths at http:// www.oregonmetro.gov/index.cfm/go/by.web/ id=218.
Are you going to be taking public transportation? Get on www.trimet.org and do some trip planning to the places you’ll need to reach by bus, Max, or streetcar. Knowing travel times will help you to decide if this location will work for your lifestyle.
4) RESEARCH NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES
Research nearest grocery stores, park, library, gas station, restaurants, shopping, etc. in order to make sure that you will be close to the services that you need and want. Yelp.com is a great place to start.
5) RESEARCH THE SCHOOLS (if applicable)
This is the best time to get to know if the local school will work for your kids. Take a walk around the school during drop off or pick up time to get a feel for the community, and give them a call to see if you can have a tour.
Yes, www.portlandmaps again! This is where you can find information about neighborhood crime statistics and nearby sex offenders.
7) TALK TO THE NEIGHBORS
This is definitely usually the hardest tip for our clients to take to heart, yet it can be the most informative. Neighbors have information that you can’t get from the internet, city records, or Realtors. A simple question, “How do you like living on this block?” can bring a wealth of details and stories. We know that it’s hard to knock on a stranger’s door, but the reception you get will tell you a lot about how it will be living next door. If you can’t bring yourself to actually knock on anyone’s door, be sure you at least take the opportunity to say hello to any neighbors you see walking on the block or getting in their cars. Most neighbors will be interested to hear that you’re thinking about buying a house on their block and the conversation often flows naturally from there.