It’s important to do your homework when you purchase a property or move into a different community, right? After all, when escrow closes or the rental contract is signed, you’re stuck to a certain degree (obviously more stuck when you buy). Here is a list of websites I recommend checking out to help better understand a particular neighborhood or community – not just during the home-buying process either. It constantly amazes me just how much information we can find online.
What other websites would you suggest for getting to know a community? What websites do you recommend for buyers on the hunt for real estate?
- Local School District Website: You can check out the neighborhood’s school district website and also websites like www.greatschools.org or even the CA Dept of Education website to review test scores.
- Crime Statistics: Does your community or city have data for crime statistics? Sacramento County has a great crime-mapping tool so you can see what types of crimes have been reported recently in the immediate neighborhood. It may be worth googling your street name, the tract name, and city name too to see what has been reported. Keep in mind the local newspaper often reports crime data too.
- Superfund Website: Are there any reported environmental issues in the neighborhood or city? Check out the EPA’s Superfund website (This isn’t about “super fun”).
- Neighborhood Website: Is there a formal neighborhood association or volunteer association in the neighborhood? What type of information is found on their website? If there is a public online forum, see if you can find out what people are praising and also complaining about.
- Megan’s Law: This website in California keeps a list of designated registered sex offenders. A website like this might be of some use or interest to certain buyers or home owners.
- City website: If the property you are purchasing is located in city, peruse the city website to see if there is any relevant information. You can discover quite a bit about future plans for particular sections of town or current issues facing the community.
- Local news website: Check out the local news paper for the city or community. You may also consider doing a blog search to see what locals are saying about the neighborhood.
- General Data Sites: You may wish to find out particular statistics for you area such as owner-occupancy rates or a breakdown of the population. Look into websites like the United States Census Bureau, Motovo “neighborhood” search, Brainy Zip (www.brainyzip.com), Neighborhood Scout or City Data (www.city-data.com).