Your home is likely the largest purchase you’ll ever make. Treating it with care is the best thing you can do to keep your property value up. This means taking care of landscaping, maintaining the structure and furnishings, and making sure that it’s livable and comfortable. Treating your home with care will also help the resale process if and when you decide to move.
However, you can do everything right with your home and still be negatively affected by outside factors that push down the value of your property. For example, there’s the state of the economy, which can fluctuate at any given time, and then there’s something that’s easy to overlook: the state of the neighborhood. Here are nine tell-tale signs your neighborhood is changing for the worse, which could lower your property value.
1. Businesses are moving
Communities thrive with businesses in the neighborhood. If there are businesses that are moving to another nearby neighborhood, this could be a red flag. This is especially true if the business is a chain, such as a grocery store, and is on the move to a different neighborhood.
2. Things are getting messy
It’s not just what you do to your property itself that determines the value of your home. It’s the neighborhood as a whole. Are things getting messier? Do you see more trash or discarded items on the sidewalk? What do the public spaces look like? If cleanliness and upkeep aren’t a priority this is a sign that the neighborhood may be on the decline.
3. The streets are empty
Safety is a staple of each neighborhood and can have a big impact on the value of your home. If families, women, and children are noticeably absent from the streets, that’s a red flag. They may not feel safe walking on the street if there are risks to their safety. You’ll want to check the neighborhood at different times, too. Notice who is on the streets and who is not. This can give you an indication of who lives here and how they are spending their time.
4. Property taxes are on the rise
If property taxes are on the rise, it could signify that the community is losing out on business and the tax base is dwindling. Governments are normally pretty slow to cut services so they may transfer the burden of property taxes from commercial outlets to the residents. Keep in mind, however, that property taxes may also increase in concert with appreciation of property values, which is a good sign. So be aware that tax changes could mean more than one thing.
5. Public transportation access is limited
Public transportation is the heartbeat of any community. It helps keep things moving and gets people to where they need to go. If public transportation access is limited or running slower than usual that can indicate a problem. If routes are being cut or there is limited access, it could mean that the transportation authority can’t justify going to that neighborhood often. Those decisions aren’t made lightly, so if that’s the case, it could spell trouble for the neighborhood.
6. Hospital closes
Hospitals provide life-saving services and add tremendous value to any neighborhood. If there is a hospital closure, especially if it’s downtown, this is bad news. Hospitals employ a lot of people and provide a space for many people to get the help they need. If there’s a closure, the neighborhood may be on the decline and the hospital can’t justify the costs of operating there anymore.
7. Vacancies are everywhere
If there are vacant storefronts on every corner, this is a bad sign. Large numbers of apartment and housing listings available in the neighborhood is another indication of lack of demand. Not only do business owners not want to move in, no one wants to live there either. If you’re seeing a lot of vacancies, whether business or residential or both, this is a huge red flag.
8. Homes are being converted
When homes are being converted to duplexes or multifamily apartments, this could signal that property values are falling. Converting homes is often a business move for landlords trying to make more revenue.
9. Public school population keeps getting smaller
The public schools in the neighborhood play a big role in the community. But when parents decide that the public school is not up to par, or not safe, they’ll start sending their children to private schools. If the public school population keeps getting smaller — especially if a public school closes — this is a sign that things are getting worse. Schools in the neighborhood have an impact on property value, so a dwindling population can mean a lower value on your home.
What you can do
If you see any combination of these signs that your neighborhood is on the decline and property value is taking a hit, what can you do? You might want to rush to sell before things get much worse but you don’t want to rush and work with a realtor who can take six percent in fees. Realtors and investors may not have your best interest at heart.
The good news is those aren’t your only two options. You can work with Sundae to get the best price for your home. We’re the only marketplace that connects homeowners with investors who compete to buy your home so you get the highest price possible. We do the work for you, and we also offer eligible sellers a cash advance of up to a $10,000 for moving. Need assistance or have any questions? Get in touch.
Sundae’s co-founder and CEO, Josh has a history leading companies that operate at the intersection of real estate and technology. Prior to Sundae, Josh was Founding Partner and SVP of Sales at LendingHome, and before that, he was Co-Founder and CFO of Purpose Built Investments. Josh graduated with honors from Stanford with a BA in Economics, BA in Spanish, and an MA in Latin American Studies with a focus in Economic Policy.