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How to Test Drive a Neighborhood

May 9, 2020
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Getting a sense of a neighborhood is just as important as checking out the new homes in Opelika AL. You’re not just buying a house, you’re becoming a part of a new community. When you live out of town or simply can’t make multiple trips that are sometimes needed to truly test drive a neighborhood, you don’t have to rely on luck. There are a number of online options to help you get a real sense of your potential new neighborhood.

In many cases, your agent may already have video of the neighborhood or can possibly film some for you or use a video chat option to help you see the surrounding area. Be sure to ask for any suggestions they have to help you get a better understanding of the neighborhood. In fact, local agents are often a great source of knowledge when it comes to neighborhoods and communities. If you’re looking in an area outside of your current location, you may want to contact a few agents in your desired area to get their inside view of a neighborhood, such as quality of schools, security, and trends in home prices to name just a few.

Along with knowledgeable agents, there are websites that provide a range of information from local taxes to school rankings. CrimeReports and GreatSchools provide helpful data on local security issues and the quality of schools. City-Data delves deep into a city’s stats, including cost of living, weather and average home prices among many other details. They also have forums for asking questions of community locals. AreaVibes is another site that offers livability scores for zip codes, and you can always check local Neighborhood pages to get a sense of a community. Facebook also often has pages dedicated to specific neighborhoods, which are worth exploring. Of course, always take forum comments with a grain of salt, as forums often attract complaints more than compliments. Don’t let the complaints put you off without further investigation.

A great way to get a view of the neighborhood and the city is Google Map’s Street View. You can also see listings of local businesses, restaurants, parks, entertainment locations, and more to see if everything is within an acceptable distance. If you’re purchasing a brand new home in a brand new community where construction is still taking place, you may not have a full Google Street View yet, but you can probably find images of the immediate surrounding area to better get a sense of what the neighboring areas are like.

In fact, try planning your daily commute using Google Maps to give you a sense of the amount of time you’ll need to drive to daily locations, such as work, school, and shopping. You can even set specific times to get a better idea of potential traffic jams during rush hour.

Finally, consider using photo websites like Flickr or Instagram to get a visual idea of the neighborhood or city. You may be surprised at the details you find with the variety of tags, giving you a virtual slideshow of the area.

While it’s always best to explore a new neighborhood in person, anyone looking to purchase one of the new homes in Opelika AL has a variety of tools right at their fingertips to help them explore without leaving home. Talk to real estate agents, explore the variety of websites and you’ll be surprised at just how much you can discover. At Grayhawk Homes, we think Cedar Creek community could be just what you’re looking for in a neighborhood.

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This post was written by Grayhawk Homes