If you’re thinking about buying a house or looking for a new apartment, be sure to look at the big picture. While it’s important to find a house, apartment, condo, etc. that feels like home, you also need to take a look at the neighborhood and find out if it is an area where you will feel safe and comfortable living.
A real estate listing or vacancy notice will only go so far in telling you what you need to know. They are written by people with a vested interest in enticing you to buy or lease the property, so they’re likely to be reluctant to share details about the less attractive aspects of the neighborhood. However, there are resources available to you to help you get the whole picture and make an informed decision.
1. Reverse Address Lookup
There’s a handy tool available to you called the white pages reverse address lookup that is particularly valuable for potential homebuyers, although renters may benefit from it as well. All you do is enter the property’s address, and it will provide you with a wealth of information about the neighborhood, as well as about the property itself. You can learn if there are sex offenders in the area and find out pertinent data about the area. You can also see images of the neighborhood from street view and satellite perspectives.
2. Federal Crime Data
It’s very rare to find an area in which no crime takes place, but most people would probably prefer to move to an area where it is as rare as possible. Every year, the FBI publishes an online Uniform Crime Report allowing you to find out statistics about the number, type, and severity of infractions committed in a particular area. You can find information for the most recent year, and the FBI also maintains a database that goes back more than 20 years, so if you have the time and patience to conduct the research, you can track long-term trends.
3. Talk to People in the Neighborhood
However, you don’t need to rely entirely on technology to find relevant neighborhood data. You can simply talk to the people who already live there. They are more likely than anyone to have detailed and pertinent information about the area, both the pluses and minuses of living there. Plus, if you move to the neighborhood, these will be your new neighbors, so it makes sense to get to know them a little bit and see if you will feel comfortable interacting with them on a regular basis.
Find out all you can about a neighborhood before moving. This will help you make a decision you know you can live with.
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