Recently I came across an unfortunate story. It was about a couple that found a house on online. Apparently the house was what they were looking for and they bought it for $1600.00.  They packed up all their worldly possessions and moved from Upstate New York to Flint, MI. They brought all their possessions in a modified school bus.

Within 24 hours of moving to Flint; they were robbed at gun point and many of the items they brought with them were destroyed. This is unfortunate as it might have saved these people a lot of trouble. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have moved to this city or this area, but it would have been great to find out some information beforehand about the neighborhood or part of town they are moving to.

From this information what can we learn.

First of all, be extremely and I mean extremely careful about buying a house over the internet sight unseen. Whether you are purchasing a house to live in or as an investment property; there is nothing like going to the area and taking a look for yourself.

Some cities that have struggles with crime, have portions of their town that may need to be avoided. Not all parts of most cities are problems, but if they have a population of more than 25,000 or more there are probably some parts of town that are rough and you should think twice about moving or going there.

If I was moving to an area I didn’t know much about, I would do a couple of things. I would initially type the name of the city into a search engine such as Google®, Bing®, Yahoo®, etc. This will bring up a few pages where you can read about the city and a few bits of pertinent information about population density, crime statistics and some general history. I would also type in the name of the street along with the city name in a search engine. When I did this I got mostly sites with other houses for sale. Now this can help you decide if you are getting the best house in a bad neighborhood or maybe the fixer upper in a good neighborhood that is undervalued. You might also come across some news stories that might have listed an address on the same street either positively or negatively.

Another idea that might work well is to call the local police department or sheriff’s office and tell them you are thinking of moving to, such and such address and you were wondering if they would give you there opinion. Now this will probably be hit or miss. What you will need is to come in contact with is someone willing to take the time to give you there opinion. You might have to call a few times to get someone that will. I believe most officers will be willing to give you an opinion from their perspective as long as they aren’t restricted from doing so.

You can also call real estate offices, a local church office,  basically any place that would have a vested interest in that community and a long enough tenure there to give you an honest assessment. Speaking to a mail carrier or UPS delivery person may be a source of valuable information as well. I also believe that speaking to other residents in the neighborhood is good. Take some time and be careful with this. Watch how the neighbors interact with each other as well as visitors. If you’re afraid to speak to people based on how they act or look, how will you feel if you lived there.

Remember: None of these methods are fool proof and you could be lied to. If you believe in the general honesty of people and come across as sincere, you may just find someone with a tremendous amount of information and the willingness to give it to you. This all can help you in making the decision whether this area or neighborhood is right for you and your family.

Don’t forget. It doesn’t matter how great the deal is…if you can’t feel secure where you live, it will never work out.






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