Local Neighborhood

Investing in a new home, either to live in, or for resale purposes must be a carefully thought out decision. There are few people in America whose home isn't their largest investment.

Therefore, you should make the most informed decision before you buy a new property. Naturally one of the things that you should put at the top of your list, is, what kind of neighborhood is the house/condo/townhouse, located in.

Not only that, but you should also try and get a sense of what the neighborhood will look like in, five, ten, twenty years. Variables like your neighbors, employment opportunities, schools and parks, all change over time, but they change at different speeds.

The following is a comprehensive list; detailing how you should examine each of these variables and how your evaluation may affect what home you buy, where, and for what price.

The New Economy & Your Neighborhood

What strategies has your community employed to welcome new economy investment?

It is no shock to anyone that the face of American employment is changing. Gone are the 9 to 5 punch clock jobs with benefits and stability. Today's economy moves fast and so do its workers. A good mix of large homes with laws and smaller more affordable semi-detached home will serve to attract both upper management residents and the more itinerant younger workers, with lots of disposable income.

What investments has your community made to attract new economy money?

New economy money loves public space. I know in my community, the large information technology company RIM was given a large plot of land by the city in hopes that they would build something for the public good. RIM made good on their promise and they built a massive recreation complex that is open to all members of the community. It was a win, win situation that will ensure a long lasting bond between the city and one of its highest profile residents.

What steps has the neighborhood taken for labor force flexibility?

Having information technology jobs is essential for any city today, but these only make up a fraction of what is broadly referred to as the new economy. The new economy also means, legions of short term contract laborers and temps. It means high paying manufacturing jobs. It means sales jobs in both the retail sector and the inside corporate sector. All of these forms of employment work together to make a healthy neighborhood workforce. You need to determine whether your neighborhood, has mono-cropped- it's employment. For instance, if there is another information technology bust, like there was at the end of the century, all of these high paying jobs could dry up. Just think of it as Flint Michigan, with microchips instead of cars. A balanced economy can weather hard times much easier than a mono-cropped one.

Public Space: The Crucial Frontier.

The neighborhood as a living room.

This may seem a little hokey, but describing your neighborhood public space is a great way to understand both the negative and the positive aspects of public space in your neighborhood. Very few potential homeowners will take the time to investigate how much public space the local neighborhood has. It's just not something you consider. It should be though. Public space has been shown to lower crime rates, increase civic involvement, and believe it or not, lower teen pregnancy. The logic being that if there is public space people will not gather in clandestine areas, and therefore everyone actions will be seen in plain view. It also fosters a feeling of collective responsibility. If everyone shares one space, everyone is in some way responsible for maintaining it. This community spirit will filter into other aspects of the local neighborhood. For instance, if your neighbor recognizes you, they will most certainly recognize that the person who is not you, is trying to break into your home. If that person had never seen you before, how would they know that maybe the thief was not just someone who had been locked out of there own home. Housing


When cities first developed as the entities we know today, they were a product of the industrial revolution. Increased production meant that there would be more workers, and these workers all worked in one relatively small location. It only made sense that they lived as close to work as possible. Therefore, entire neighborhoods were erected as barracks for the workers and their factories. Communities formed on their own (heck, everybody knew each other) and to live and work blended into one sphere. Things have obviously changed. However, live work options are really all that most homeowners want anyway, but few choose to make it a priority. They would rather work in an area that has similar people and convenient amenities than live close to their work. Thus: the commute is born. So, when looking at local neighborhoods to invest in, think of the live/work possibilities in that area. Is it a sprawling suburb that will take twenty minutes to get out of every morning, or is it a small enclave with close by business where work is just a short drive, bike, or even walk away. This feature can add thousands of dollars to the costs of a home, but it can also add thousands to its resale value.

Is there affordable mixed housing?

Any urban planner will tell you that having mixed income dwellings makes for more vibrant communities. In fact, statistics have shown that if one in every ten houses has a significantly lower value than the adjacent units, the value of the more expensive units will go up. The principle here is simple. Your home will look better next to a cheaper one. Mixed value housing also gives the community some flexibility for development. If there is a block of houses that are not up to the standard of the local neighborhood growing around it, these units can be demolished later on and replaced with a fixture that better reflects the desire of the community. A school, baseball diamond, go-kart track; it doesn't matter. Tourism

What tourist events and celebrations have been planned?

Celebrations and tourist attractions may seem a little tacky sometimes, but they a great way to boost the reputation of a neighborhood. Here's a for instance. I live in a very large city in North America. Upon moving to the city I really just stayed in my own neighborhood, not really venturing too far away. That is until a cultural festival lured out of my cozy confines. He festival was amazing and I got to experience the new neighborhood. This was a couple years ago, and that festival was the first one. Now the festival happens each year, and that neighborhood is one of the trendiest in the city. Imagine what that has done to property value. IN other words, it put the neighborhood on the map.

Does the neighborhood have leadership?

Organizing a festival or celebration requires some planning. Having members of your local neighborhood get together to plan an event will go a long way towards solidifying team work and leadership, that will ultimately make your local neighborhood a better place to live. Environment

How is the environment quality being maintained?

Caring for the environment can be a tough issue, as its benefits cannot be immediately seen. In fact it is an investment. Naturally (no pun intended) the livability of the local neighbor hood depends on how well the area is being looked after. Thinking practically; who wants to live in a neighborhood with trash on the ground?

Is the land being used properly?

Environmentally friendly neighborhoods mean more than just litter free parks. They mean policy decisions at the highest levels of municipal and state government. Is your neighborhood, a) Conscious of the environmental issues facing the community. b) Willing to act to protect the environment. To increase value, your community should fight for these policy changes: Curb urban sprawl. Advocate smart growth (mixed commercial, industrial and residential space) Viable public transport. An effective energy grid, with little waste. Recycling programs that do more than just give people colorful garbage cans.

Human Development Youth Hey, we were all young once and we know the pressures that face ids everyday. They may seem like peanuts now, but when you are young, your universe is much smaller. There is no way to eradicate teen pregnancy, vandalism and drinking and drug use (unless you are the Taliban). Therefore, effective strategies to get these issues out in the open are a great way to keep youth out of harms way. Public sports facilities, rock concerts, dance shows and BBQ's are all great ways to channel mischievous behavior into something a little more productive. Seniors Not only were we all young once, but also one day, we'll all be old. Keep that in mind when you are investing in real estate in a local neighborhood. If there are no seniors there now, where the heck are you going to live when you get older? Do you really want to be yanked away from your community to go live in some geriatric compound on a hill somewhere, of course not. So make sure seniors centers, and markets are in close proximity.