Buying a great home in a bad neighborhood can happen to anyone, especially if they aren’t familiar with the area since they are moving in from out of town. Undesirable neighborhoods aren’t always as obvious as you might think. Sure, there are the ones that are obviously blighted and practically scream STAY AWAY, but some neighborhoods are on a slow but steady decline and it takes a more discerning eye to see the red flags. You may think that you have found your dream house, but if the surrounding community stinks, you would be making an unwise purchase. How can you tell if a neighborhood is NOT the place to be? Look for some of the signs enumerated below. 

1.) There are lots of other houses for sale

It’s no biggie if there are a few (2-4) “for sale” signs on the same street, but if it looks like everyone and their mother is trying to bail out, you should take this as the bad sign that it is. A mass exodus means that the community is either dying or going down a bad path, and you should look into exactly which one it is. You wouldn’t climb on a sinking ship for refuge, so don’t make an investment in a neighborhood that is going downhill. 

2.) Businesses aren’t making it

If the thoroughfares of your potential new neighborhood are dotted with empty storefronts, you might want to think twice about buying a home there. A local decline in business is bad news, because it means that the community cannot support local commerce. Residents who don’t have money to go out to dinner or shopping may not have the money for upkeep on their homes, either. This will inevitably lead to a neighborhood that looks as distressed as its economy. 

3.) Locals schools are losing students

The enrollment of local schools can be a major indicator as to the health of the neighborhood. In a thriving community, schools should be steadily enrolling more and more students as the area blossoms and more young families move in. If class sizes are steadily decreasing, this is yet another sign that the community is deteriorating. You can find out information on enrollment from the county school district office. 

There are so many factors that go into buying a home that you shouldn’t discount the condition of the neighborhood surrounding any house that you could potentially buy. If you know what to look for, the areas to avoid become much more obvious.