This article from bankrate.com has several good tips for homebuyers:
To summarize the article – when buying a home, you should consider:
- Location – #1
- Schools – http://www.greatschools.org/
- HOA – solvent? controlling?
- Zoning – changes nearby?
- Crime report – http://arjis.org/
- Walkability – shops nearby?
- Neighbors – too many vehicles?
- Foreclosures – nearby? headlines?
- Sex-offenders – http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/
- Social activity – too little or too much?
- Garage bands
- Barking dogs
- Speeding cars/traffic
- Landfill, smells
- Talk to neighbors
- Visit at different times of the day
- Talk to nearby shop owners
- Talk to mailmen/local police officers
“To avoid potential short-term value depression, potential buyers should check local foreclosure rolls for an excess of pending defaulters in a neighborhood”, says Jim Klinge, owner of Klinge Realty in San Diego. But foreclosures aren’t always a stigma. Whether foreclosure buyers are investors or owner-occupiers, “they’re coming in solvent enough to qualify for full mortgages,” he says. “They’re also fixing up houses in disrepair and are usually smart landlords.” One big “must” for every buyer, says Klinge, is to check local sex-offender lists. “It’s a bummer when you find out later that the guy across the street is a peeper.”