Aerial shot of a suburban street

4 Things You Should Research Before Buying a House

If you’re in the market to buy a new house, chances are you have an idea of where you want to look. Whether that’s general vicinity or specific neighborhood, it’s important that you look with a long-term lens as buying a home is a major commitment. Once you’ve narrowed down the wants and needs of your new home like bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, and land size, it’s time to research the area around your new home before taking the plunge. Because you will likely live here for a long time, understanding the neighborhood, nearby amenities, and expenses of the home, you’ll feel more confident that you made the right decision.


The first thing to look into before you buy a home is the location. Especially for military families who are used to moving around often and may be moving to a place they’ve never been, it’s a great idea to google the area and ask friends / family who may have been there before. If you have children or are planning to in the future, the location of your new home is incredibly important, especially in relation to school. There are many different rating systems for schools and a great way to determine which have the best reputation and amenities is to do additional research ahead of time. A great school district might drive the price of the home up, but keep in mind that it also can equate to a great resale value.


Commuting to and from work can be a pain and depending on the length of the drive you may be spending countless hours in your car getting to and from work each day. If you plan to remain in your job for a long time or work in its vicinity, you’ll want to calculate just how far the house you’re looking at is to your office. Commute time is so important to many homebuyers that NAR calculated that about 50% of buyers found that the “convenience to work” was the second most significant factor when considering home locations.

A great way to see how this would affect you is to calculate the drive time (or public transportation time) at the same hours of the day as you would anticipate driving. If you leave your home at 7am every day, go on Google maps at 7am a few days in a row and see what the drive time would be with traffic. If you find the commute to be too long you may want to search for another home that is a better fit.

Neighborhood Amenities

When you buy a home, you don’t just live in the building, you also live in the neighborhood and it’s important that the area has everything you need, and ideally has everything you want. If you want to be close to amenities such as dog parks, green spaces, pools, golf courses, public transportation, and trendy coffee shops, research the neighborhood beforehand. If you have time and availability, it’s always a good idea to drive around after you visit the house you love to see if you also love the area.

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Crime Rates

While a house may look beautiful in the listing, it’s hard to know just how safe the neighborhood will be without doing a little research. Understanding the crime rates in the area will help you get a better grasp on the safety of the home and also the monthly expenses you may need to incur to keep your house secure. If the home has a great price tag but is located in an area that has unusually high crime rates you may want to consider if the affordability is worth it. Before you make an offer on your new home, understanding the factors above can help you feel confident that this is the house for you. Active-duty military members who are moving to a new location and are looking to buy a home off base should especially research the home and its location before taking the plunge. If you work with a team during your homebuying process that are experts in working with veterans and service members like MHS Lending, you can feel rest assured that you’re in good hands.