You’ve probably heard the advice to buy the best-value house in the most expensive neighborhood. While the expense of the area isn’t the only factor that impacts property value, the features of a block can impact how fast your property appreciates.
The rate of home prices has steadily increased over the last few years and is expected to continue modest growth throughout 2019. In some areas, land appreciates faster than others, so there are some features you should consider if you want to sell the home you buy today for a healthy profit in the future.
1. Located Near the City
Many buyers in the younger generation want a home that’s 10 miles or less from a major city, and it’s easy to see why this is attractive for those seeking professional positions. At the same time, you want to buy in an area that has low crime and is at least in the process of revitalization. Driving the blocks surrounding a home tells you a lot about the area. You might even want to park, get out and walk to see what other homes in the area look like.
If you own a safe property in a more urban neighborhood, current rising property values indicate that you’ll be in a very comfortable position when you decide to sell.
2. Transportation Options in Neighborhoods
Millennials are of an age where they’re starting to buy homes, but they aren’t into the sprawling suburban neighborhoods that have been the beacon for happy families in the past. Instead, the suburban neighborhoods with the best property values feature increased mobility. Home buyers want access to both transportation and community amenities, such as nearby places to eat, bike paths and areas to engage with the community at large.
If you notice expanding features like extended bus lines and growing retail centers, your neighborhood is likely to support property value growth for years to come.
3. Sidewalks or Walking Trails
One thing a lot of people look for is the ability to walk or hike in the area. Are there established sidewalks for safe walking to and from various neighborhood locations? If there’s a park with hiking trails nearby, the neighborhood may be more attractive to potential buyers.
4. Avoid Hoarders
Having a nearby neighbor who’s a hoarder may devalue your property and make it difficult to sell. While you can’t control what happens over the years, you can survey the nearby homes and properties for any obvious issues. Are the yards well kept? Are clutter and trash put away? If you see a home that has old cars under tarps filling the front yard and driveway, understand that this issue may impact the value of your own home.
5. Research the School Quality
Young families are willing to pay more to be in a good school district. The home prices in an area are often a direct reflection of the quality of the schools. One study found that schools with higher math scores increased home values by 11 percent.
7. Keep an Eye on Foreclosures
A neighborhood full of foreclosures negates your property value, so seek out one with few or no foreclosures. Not only does a foreclosure often sit empty for long periods, but the bank may auction the home off or sell it far below its original value. Homes sold on the auction block drive down the amount you can expect from your home if it happens often enough.
6. Choose a Street With Mature Trees
There’s something about a street lined with old trees that feels homey and established. If you have the choice between buying a home in a neighborhood with mature trees or one without, choose the mature trees. Large trees increase the value of your home as much as 15 percent.
Go With Your Gut
Your home is one of the biggest investments of your life. You can make intelligent guesses, but you can’t control what happens to the neighborhood between the time you move in and the day you sell. Factor in all the main elements that play into the value of a home, but then go with the place your instincts tell you is home. Your decision should be somewhere between rational and warm and fuzzy.
• Holly Welles is a real estate writer and the editor behind her own blog, The Estate Update. She loves helping readers figure out how to utilize the real estate market for their own financial benefit. You can catch more curated advice on her Twitter feed @HollyAWelles.