Home buyers around greater Cincinnati are fairly predictable. Buyer requirements are focused on price, # bedrooms and bathrooms, school district (maybe), neighborhoods, age and of course- amenities.
HGTV has emphasized the importance of granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances-but maybe they should remind potential buyers to look at some other details as well.
Recently I’ve had some fun showing “already rehabbed” homes located mid-city around I-71. The workmanship has been surprising and, for the most part, prices have been competitive. For my buyers, it’s important that whatever they buy is “move-in” condition. But they’ve done their homework and had lots of questions about zoning, fence heights, crime stats and demographics. It’s my job to help them locate the best sources to answer their questions (not me) and let them do the research. In this case information on zoning and fencing was available online- the rest of it will require phone calls.
What is surprising is how few of today’s buyers look beyond the boundaries of the backyard to ensure the surrounding neighborhood will support your dream lifestyle. Think about adding a few things to your real estate checklist:
- Zoning– what can and what can’t you do once you move in (or can your neighbor build a 20 foot storage barn for you to stare at every day)? Are above ground or in-ground pools allowed, backyard gyms, broken cars and trailers parked on grass or parked outside at all, basketball hoops, type and height of fences and more. Just because the neighbor has an above ground pool- doesn’t guarantee you permission to do the same. Also many areas have covenants which may be slightly more restrictive than zoning codes….and many area have little or no way to enforce covenants….until somebody decides they don’t like your new fence and files a lawsuit. Some neighborhoods allow only wood/brick on the exteriors which may mean continued upkeep and expense for you. Finally don’t assume zoning is for single family homes only-over the years many of us have discovered unique zoning codes in our neighborhoods.
- Crime Statistics– call the local police/sheriff department to verify the facts for yourself.
- Neighborhood Planning– what’s on the books or in the plans for the future? Are there plans for commercial, residential or light industrial on the books and is it close enough to have a direct impact. Find out if the field at the end of the block could become home to condos, apartments or a UDF store.
It’s best for buyers to do their own research and get direct answers to all their questions without information being interpreted or misinterpreted by anybody else.
Today’s home and condo buyers have a lot to handle when it comes to inspections, radon, mortgages, title insurance and home owner’s insurance-but don’t forget to take a few extra moments to verify neighborhood information too!
Related Article: US News Money