Location is one of the most important factors in any real estate decision, so it is important to be educated about any neighborhood a person is considering investing in. Here are a few ways for investors to improve their understanding of a neighborhood.

Learn About the Area’s Architectural Styles

An important part of being a neighborhood expert is being able to intelligently discuss the buildings that make the neighborhood special. Browse property data for the area to learn more about the average age of buildings and any interesting architectural details to be aware of. Specializing in popular styles like Craftsman bungalows or mid-century modern ranches can help investors and real estate agents show they understand what makes a neighborhood different.

Walk Around the Neighborhood

All the data and research may not provide as much knowledge as just visiting the location. Investors can learn a lot by walking or driving around the area they are interested in. This can provide details about things like sounds, smells, and atmosphere that cannot be easily defined with traditional methods of analysis. Checking at both day and night on weekends and weekdays will provide a complete picture of the neighborhood’s feel.

Use Real Estate Websites

A good way of getting a quick look at any neighborhood is through the internet. Websites like Realtor.com and Trulia.com collect reviews from residents all over the neighborhood, so you can see what people who live there really think about it. They can also provide a convenient analysis of data, giving you helpful metrics for comparing things like walkability, crime, and schools.

Recognize Signs of Development

An important part of being a neighborhood expert is being able to predict how that neighborhood will change. Therefore, it is important for would-be experts to spend time checking out the types of projects planned for the neighborhoods. Zoning boards and city permit offices can be a great source of information. In addition to obvious signs of development like new apartments being installed, check for more subtle signs like new transit lines being added to the area or more home improvement being done. Keeping on top of real estate trends can help identify areas filled with potential.