When housing hunting in NYC you need to be on the watch for red flags that tell you a particular property isn’t a good buy. Much has been written about red flags to look for when viewing a home. But how many pay attention to neighborhood red flags? When you buy the home, you’re also buying the neighborhood. If you want your investment to be a good one, then you’ll want to be sure the neighborhood is an established or up-and-coming one that will see your investment grow over time. Years down the road you may want to sell and use the proceeds to upgrade to a bigger home.
Below are five neighborhood red flags to watch out for. Before you agree to a sale make sure you check the neighborhood for these red flags.
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There are too many properties on the market
Before you buy, you’ll want to take a look at the local market to see how many others are selling. You should be doing this anyway to assess what the current going rate is on comparable properties. There’s nothing wrong with seeing a handful of properties on the market. But if you see a lot, then that should be a cause for concern. This suggests illiquidity in the market and pricing pressure which is a significant risk for buyers. The most important thing though is to find out why those “for sale” signs are up. Maybe the neighborhood is gentrifying quickly, and many long-term residents are moving it. Maybe there’s a lot of older residents who are downsizing. Or it could be that theirs a more sinister explanation such as rising crime rates. Do your research into why people are selling before committing,
The local schools are enrolling fewer students
A good school in the district is a prime selling point. As such, if one in your neighborhood is seeing less enrollment, then that can mean trouble when it comes time to sell. School enrollments can decrease for a number of reasons. Maybe poor management is driving parents towards private options. Even if you don’t have kids and have no plans to have any soon, you should still pay attention to the local schools. A popular school can be a huge selling point whereas a failing one can put buyers off immediately.
There’s a lot of empty storefronts
Even if the property looks great, you’ll want to take a look at how the rest of the neighborhood is doing. If you see a lot of empty storefronts, then that suggests the residents have a lot less disposable income than before. Fewer residents with disposable income suggest a neighborhood in decline which will spell bad trouble when it comes time to sell. If homeowners can’t pay for dinner out, then they probably can’t pay for upkeep. This can spell foreclosure which can mean the end of a neighborhood.
Surrounding buildings aren’t in good condition
Retail properties aren’t the only thing you want to be looking at. How is the rest of the neighborhood doing? Any area with a lot of run-down buildings and infrastructure should be an immediate red light. This has nothing to do with how wealthy the neighborhood is. Even low-income neighborhoods will stay well maintained as a matter of pride. Residents and landlords who don’t maintain their properties lower property values for everyone.
A lack of transit
Most New Yorkers rely on public transport to get around, and if one neighborhood is lacking in it, then that can make any home there a hard sell. Find out where the nearest subway station is and what other transport options residents have to get around. If the neighborhood is so far out that it relies on public buses and private cars to get around, then that’s a major losing point. This is a big thing in NYC so pay attention to it.