When you're house shopping, you have to also shop for a neighborhood. But how exactly can you find the right neighborhoodand a home at the right price point? Well, one of the ways you can buy your way into a great home and neighborhood and stretch your buying dollar is to find a neighborhood that is in transition. Called "fringe" or "transitional" neighborhoods, they are typically close to major metropolitan areas and were once neglected and less desirable, but have been gentrified.
Buying in a transitional neighborhood for your first house allows you to get into the market relatively cheaply and build some equity. Your house gains value as the neighborhood improves. It may not be your dream location now, or the seaside beach community you want to retire to, but over time you will build even more equity and then move on at some point.
How to find that perfect diamond in the rough? Here are two ways:
1. Has a Starbucks just opened on the corner or maybe a Whole Foods Market? These are all good signs that a neighborhood is on the upswing. You can bet that big chains like Starbucks spend a lot of money and time analyzing neighborhood potential before they open up a new store. Go ahead, tap into their market research and be their neighbor.
2. Check crime in one click with Trulia Crime Maps. It may look like an improving area, but you want to make sure your up-and-coming block, street and area is safe and not the center of a serious crime waves.
Go to Trulia's Crime Map, just plug in your city, zoom into to your potential block and get a pretty comprehensive look at what has been happening lately crime-wise. If it looks quiet and surrounded by or adjacent to other low crime areas, you may have found yourself a deal!
Michael Corbett is Trulia's real estate and lifestyle expert. He is also the host of EXTRA's Mansions and Millionaires on NBC. In addition to his regular segments on ABC's The View and Fox News, he is a national best selling author with three critically acclaimed real estate books:Find It, Fix It, FLIP IT!; Ready, Set, SOLD! and Before You BUY! His years of experience in buying, renovating, and selling homes have made him a sought-after nationally recognized real estate expert.