Few things will determine your happiness in a home quite as much as the neighborhood where the property is located. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly difficult to tell a great neighborhood apart from one where you may not want to live, until you have already signed the papers. Here are three weird things you should look for in a new neighborhood, and how they could be great signs.
1. That One Weird House When people are quirky, their houses often are too. Sometimes, homeowners decide to paint their properties bright colors or decorate their yards with loads of lawncare décor, leaving the neighbors to wonder what they are thinking. While spotting that one weird house in a neighborhood may seem like a warning sign, it actually could be a symptom of a free, all-inclusive space where you would enjoy spending time.
Additionally, since homeowners associations, also called HOAs, have the power to rule on everything from the color you can paint your place to the type of fence you can install, spotting a strange home could be a sign that an HOA either isn't in place or that the rules aren't enforced.
As you tour neighborhoods, don't be afraid of that one house that looks a little different. In fact, it could be helpful to knock on the door and talk with the owner about how they feel about the neighborhood.
2. Neighbors Chatting When neighbors like one another enough to chat in their yards, you know the neighborhood is a healthy, happy place to be. Neighbors chatting is an age-old sign of a community that is friendly and functional, so be on the lookout for people having cookouts, chatting when they fetch their mail, or walking their dogs together.
At the same time, watch out for groups of people that appear to be loitering, since it could be a sign of gangs. Talk with your real estate agent about crime rates in your area and general demographic information, so you know what to expect.
3. Lemonade Stands You might not be willing to put your health in the hands of a brand-new chef, but lemonade stands run by children are the quintessential summer addition to a happy neighborhood. If you spot kids who are busy selling cookies, frozen pops, or lemonade with other kids in their yards, you can trust that their parents feel comfortable in the neighborhood and that the area is generally safe.
As an added bonus, seeing kids around could be a sign that your little ones won't struggle to find playmates, which can make your life a lot easier.
When you are ready to start looking around at houses for sale, reach out to a broker or real estate agent in your area to work out the details. In addition to offering great advice regarding the best neighborhoods in your area, your real estate agent can also talk with you about property values and where to invest your money for the biggest impact.