Wednesday, January 24, 2018
By John Rayborn
Is This a Good Neighborhood?

The answer to “Is this a good neighborhood?”

Ever feel that you’re not getting a straight answer from your Realtor when you ask, “Is this a good neighborhood?” There is a reason that they skirt giving you a straight “yes” or “no” answer. It all comes down to the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act aims to eliminate housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion sex, disability or family status. “Steering” a client to look at or avoid certain neighborhoods is illegal and Realtors are extremely careful to avoid doing so. So, if you really want to know if a neighborhood you’re looking at is “good” you need to ask yourself a few simple questions and follow them up with a bit of easy internet research.

What defines a “good” neighborhood to you?

  • Low crime rates?
  • Highly-rated schools?
  • Proximity to amenities such as gyms, grocery stores, or religious centers? 
  • Walkability?
  • A quick commute? 
  • Friendly neighbors? 
  • A quiet or lively neighborhood? 

Here are some ways to find the answers.

  • Use a map service such as Google Maps or Mapquest to determine the closest amenities to you and determine your commute time.
  • Check out the crime statistics at https://communitycrimemap.com/
  • Check to see if there are registered sex offenders in the area. For Texas, visit https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/SexOffenderRegistry 
  • School  ratings and reviews can also be found online on websites such as https://www.greatschools.org/   and https://www.schooldigger.com 
  • Explore the neighborhood at different times of the day. How does traffic differ in the morning vs the evening? Can you hear traffic noise or emergency vehicles? Are there many people out in the daytime/nighttime? Do people wave as you drive through the neighborhood? Are their many kids playing? Do you feel safe driving through the neighborhood after dark? 
  • Take a look at the cars parked. Do people park on the street, in their yard, or in their garage? Are there many cars visible during working hours vs non-work/weekend hours?
  • Stop and talk to the neighbors and other community members. Most people are pretty honest when it comes to singing the praises (or listing the drawbacks) of where they live. Plus, unless the person is also a Realtor, they’ll probably give you a “yes” or “no” answer to the “Is this a good neighborhood?” question.

Once you’ve narrowed your preferred neighborhood down to a zip code, school district, subdivision or other boundaries, We Rent Homes can help you find a home that meets your needs. Our inventory of rental homes in the El Paso metro area is diverse, just like the people who live here. By doing a bit of Internet research and some ground work, you can be confident that your next home is in the neighborhood that is right for you!

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