8 Things to Check Before Buying in a Neighborhood in Naples

A family enjoying a new neighborhood

Touring various homes for sale with your REALTOR® can be a lot of fun. Finding the perfect home is a thrill as well but what about the neighborhood the home is in? Trust me—the perfect home in a bad neighborhood will have you itching to move again before you know it. Avoid this common problem by doing your due diligence and checking into these 8 often-forgot aspects of your potentially new neighborhood.

Homeowners Association

The Rules of the HOA

We all know that living in an HOA comes with a set of rules all residents must abide by. However, there are a few tricky rules that may greatly affect your enjoyment of your new home.

Many HOA’s do not allow pickup trucks as one example. This odd rule can be especially burdensome if your job demands the use of a truck. Similarly, many neighborhoods limit the number of vehicles owned in a household. If you have a child turning driving age, make sure you select an HOA that will allow the three cars you will need parked.

I commonly have buyers that say they want to fence in the yard for their pets. Here in Naples, that is often a problem! Most communities will not allow fences and those that do will have very detailed guidelines on the type of fence that can be installed as well as the height. Be sure you know this rule before moving your pup into a new neighborhood.

How Financially Strong is the Neighborhood?

When homeowners associations do not have necessary funding for projects around the neighborhood, special assessments will often be levied. These special assessments come in the form of a bill that you must pay, above and beyond your normal quarterly dues. By reviewing the reserve balances you can determine the level of risk that you will be required to pay a special assessment. Check on big ticket items such as roads, roofs, etc..

Readily Observable Neighborhood Traits

How Noisy are Your Neighbors?

I encourage my customers to visit neighborhoods again on a Friday or Saturday night to see if there are any late-night disturbances. I recently had a customer sell her home because the neighborhood was very noisy and the Board of Directors would not take action against the violators. It’s worth the time to drive through (perhaps more than once) and see for yourself if there will be a potential problem.

When in Doubt, ask the Neighbors!

Every neighborhood will have owners out and about so stop and chat about the community. Asking a current owner how they like living in the community; Although it may be disappointing to hear someone explain why they do not like the community, hearing that news will save you so much heartache down the road.

How’s Your Morning and Evening Commute?

I often encourage my customers, especially those new to the area, to wake up a bit earlier and drive to the neighborhood. Immediately turn back and drive to work! Doing the same leaving work in the evening is equally beneficial. Naples has many roads that flow very smoothly in the afternoon but become a standstill in the morning and evenings (here’s looking at you, Immokalee Road). Would your opinion of a neighborhood that you love change if it made your commute a bit painful? Don’t find out after you’ve purchased the home!

Check School Zones (Even if you Don’t Have Kids)

Buying in a great school zone is a fantastic choice whether you have children or not. I always tell my clients that they may not have children yet their buyer likely will. A good school zone is a factor that will keep values up in most cases and will give you another marketing tool when the time comes to resell.

Crime Statistics

Check for Frequency of Crime and Type

Crime statistics are readily available online so there is no reason to miss this key bit of research. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office releases crime maps to show the type of crime committed that officers were dispatched to. Other sites, such as AreaVibes and NeighborhoodScout , can shed insight as well.

The Sex Offender Registry

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has a great site for viewing sex offenders on a map. As a REALTOR®, I am actually not allowed to tell you where the sex offenders are or steer you away from neighborhoods with one. However, you can certainly check online and make your own educated decisions.

What Did I Miss?

Those are 8 of the factors that go into choosing a community. Are there more? Share in the comments below what other aspects of a neighborhood you look for when buying a home here in Naples, FL.

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