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Are you shopping for a new home? It can be exciting to find a home that matches your requirements in terms of location, overall appearance and total cost but those factors alone are not enough. Other important factors to keep in mind when home shopping include the quality of the school district, crime statistics, property taxes and the cost of homeowners insurance.
A survey conducted by Trulia shows that 19% of homebuyers indicated a top school district as a major criteria when buying a home. Children who attend top schools are more likely to receive personalized attention and gain admission to a competitive university.
Average standardized test scores and student-teacher-ratios should be considered when evaluating and comparing school districts. Parents who purchase a home in a lower-rated district may save money on mortgage costs but end up sending their child to private school which can end up costing thousands of dollars annually.
There are many free online resources that allow you to research the crime statistics for specific neighborhoods including theBureau of Justice Statistics. City Data is a very popular forum where you can receive a first hand account from locals about what it’s like to live in a specific area. You can also interview potential neighbors and inquire about the environment and possible issues which may not be visible when you visit the property initially. Scanning the local newspaper can also give you an idea of the types of crimes that occur in the area.
Find out if your prospective new home has any anti-crime features such as a surveillance or home security system. If the security measures aren’t up to date. you may want to factor in the cost of an upgrade. Find out if the neighborhood has an active watch group or if there are any local networks which regularly meet and work together in order to fight crime.
It’s crucial to research the cost of property taxes on a home before making an offer. Unexpected rate hikes and reassessments are common and can greatly affect your budget. According to realtor Geoff Lilienfeld, a realtor who specializes in homes for sale in Scottsdale AZ, it’s also important to research county and city taxes since these additional payments can come as a surprise. Property taxes may also be increased if you remodel or upgrade your home.
Homeowner Insurance Costs
Another cost that first-time buyers often neglect is the cost of homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance protects your home in case of damage such as natural disasters or arson and is a requirement if you choose to have your home financed, as many Americans do. You may also be required to purchase flood or earthquake insurance depending on your area of residence.
The cost of your premium will depend on numerous factors including the age of your home, your address and claims history. Having preventative security measures in place such as a burglar alarm or smoke detector can lower your premium. According to the Federal Reserve Bureau, the aveage price for yearly coverage runs between $300-$1000.