Shopping for a new neighbourhood? Don't be dazzled by a great house or what you see on the surface. Do your homework and take a good look around. We chatted to Paul Burger, Patrol Coordinator of the HarLyn Neighbourhood Watch, about some things to look out for in a new neighbourhood:
1. Peace and Quiet
"If you are looking for peace and quiet, then there are many noise factors to consider: how close you are to the airport, train stations, busy roads, bars that are open late at night, etc."
Tip: Visit a neighbourhood at different days of the week and times of the day, to get a full picture of its activities. What might look tranquil on a Saturday morning might be a carnival on Friday night.
2. Access to Facilities
"Think of everything you might need one day. You might not have kids yet, but in a few years' time, are there good schools for them nearby? If you are retired, will you need good medical care?"
Tip: Stay in a local B&B and experience the scene like a tourist would. Ask your waiter, shop owner or B&B host what they like and dislike of the area.
3. Ease of Commute
"Commuting to and from work every day is something you'll always have to live with. Is there public transport around? Are the roads well maintained? What influences the flow of traffic, e.g. schools, businesses, traffic lights, train crossings?"
"Crime is a fact of life but how it's dealt with is important. How visible are the local security companies? Is there a neighbourhood watch?"
Tip: Get hold of local newspapers - a wealth of info, good and bad.
5. Location, Location, Location
"Be cautious if the prices are exceptionally good, it might be so for a reason. Look out for signs of vandalism or abundance of 'for sale' boards - signs that all might not be well in that area."
Tip: Property24 offers prospective home owners a search by neighbourhood and street where you can view the house prices for the past 10-20 years. Here you can see whether house prices are on the decline.
Take a look here for other articles from Santam that will give you further insight on what you need to know about buying a home.