Moving has been proven to be one of the most stressful events there is—second only to renovating when it comes to real estate-related factors. And that’s when you’re just moving down the street! Buying a home in Los Angeles and relocating your family to a new area can have an even greater impact. The idea of starting over may sound thrilling—but the unknowns can also make it seem scary. Arming yourself with as much information as possible can mitigate the fear and allow the excitement to take over.
Getting ready to make your move? Be sure to find out these 8 things first:
1. How good are the schools?
Even if you don’t now have—or even plan on having—kids, it’s important to be in an area where the schools are good. Why? A little thing called value.
“Living near a high-scoring school can increase your home’s value by over $200,000, according to the Brookings Institution,” said AOL.
Greatschools.org is a good resource for checking out local schools. If your agent can put you in touch with neighbors in the area who can give you further insight—even better.
2. How long is the commute?
Only you know how long—or short—you commuting threshold is. If you start getting antsy at the 20-minute mark and begin having full-blown conversations with yourself once you pass a half an hour, it’s REALLY IMPORTANT to figure out how long you’ll be in the car on a daily basis before you buy. And don’t take anyone else’s word for it unless they drive the precise commute you’ll be driving. Estimations won’t do you any good when you’re trying to rush home to Valencia to get your kid from daycare and the 5 looks like the parking lot at the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Test your commute from the L.A. neighborhoods you’re considering. What you think should take only 30 minutes each way might be closer to an hour—and that’s without a SIG Alert! When it comes to commuting, knowledge is definitely power.
3. Are the neighbors nice?
It never hurts to knock on a few doors and get talking to the neighbors when considering a new home. Your perfect home in the perfect neighborhood might not feel so dandy anymore once you learn the lady next door has 35 cats or the guy down the street has a teenage son who likes to drag race down your street.
4. Are there sexual predators in the area?
5. What’s the tax situation?
If you’re moving to Santa Clarita from another area, you might not have ever heard of Mello-Roos, which are special assessments homeowners have to pay in some of the newer communities. Knowing the details of any special fees ahead of time will allow you to calculate a thorough monthly payment instead of ending up with expensive surprises.
6. Are there any stringent rules I need to know about?
Did you know that the city of Pasadena requires permits for everything—including the kitchen sink? Whether you want to replace the windows or doors, upgrade the heating and air conditioning, or even have a garage sale, you need city sign off. Knowing of any stringent rules upfront will save you a lot of hassle in you new city.
7. Are there any development plans nearby?
A new infill project, ongoing road construction, or perhaps a new business that you find questionable in close proximity to your kids’ school (Talking to you, Hooters!) could cramp your style, or hurt your property values.
8. Calculate the distance to the nearest Starbucks
On the other hand, a house that’s close to the local Starbucks doesn’t just make caffeinating convenient—it can also boost your home value.
Call it “The Starbucks effect,” said TIME magazine. “Proximity to a local coffee shop has a very real, and positive, effect on home values,” with data over 17 years showing that “homes adjacent to the local Starbucks almost doubled in value, up by 96%. Those further out appreciated by 65% over the same period.”
Tripp Jones Real Estate for Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys, Call 661-733-4555 or 818-527-6292