The mistakes that cost home buyers thousands of dollars

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April 15, 2020
the best homes in nyc

With everything that’s going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be wondering if this is a good time to buy property in NYC. While it’s true that interest rates are low and prices have dropped, there are still many mistakes you can make while buying a house that can come back to bite you. Therefore, you’ll want to be able to avoid these issues as best as you can. With everyone currently staying indoors, now could be a great time to start researching for your perfect place.

Below we’ve listed a few big things you should take under consideration when you’re apartment hunting.

New construction

It’s always a letdown to realize there’s a construction site nearby after purchasing what seemed like the perfect apartment. The noise and potential dust coming from the site can be a big nuisance to some people—not to mention that construction can potentially last for many months, or even several years.

To avoid things like this, many people look at the prospective apartment in person before moving in, and take some time to walk around the surrounding area. Doing this can give you peace of mind and help you see yourself in the surrounding area better than by just looking at photos online. But don’t sweat it if you can’t make it to a viewing! You can also search listings on Localize to see if there’s any construction nearby. Our insights will let you know, and even tell you if construction is planned for the near future.

Blocked open views

Most people want a place with a nice views—and beautiful big windows. However, sometimes an apartment with incredible views could have those views potentially blocked in the future but construction sites.

Luckily for you, Localize’s insights can also tell you if an apartment with good views might have them blocked in the future. This is based on the number of empty lots around the apartment building, and if those lots owners are allowed to build buildings taller than yours.

Additionally, you can discover how much view the apartment building could potentially lose and if there are concrete plans to build on those empty lots. While taller buildings may not be built, it is a good idea to know it’s a possibility before you purchase the apartment.

Subway closures

One big mistake when buying an apartment is not researching transportation lines and options beforehand. While there might be subway lines running from your new space to your work, there could also be unexpected subway closures that you weren’t aware of before purchasing. This can be a major inconvenience.

It is important to do your own research to avoid spending too much time commuting. With Localize, every listing has a tab where you can look at nearby transit options, including how long it’ll take you to reach your office from that place. Additionally, you can filter your search by indicating how you usually like to travel (by subway, bus, car, bike, or walking) to ensure the listings that show up for you are catered toward your commute style.

If you like biking places, the transit tab can also tell you if the neighborhood you’re looking in is bike-friendly. If you do CitiBike, it’ll also tell you how close the nearest station is from your building. You can also filter for listings that are in a “bike-friendly area” to narrow down your search.

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Flood zones

Homes in flood zones have the potential to cost you a lot money in repairs when natural disasters occur. If a hurricane or large storm floods your new apartment, it could create thousands of dollars in damage. So for spaces like these, flood insurance may also be necessary.

While some may enjoy living near the beach, these could also be at high risk for flooding. Localize will label every listing in a flood zone—both on the listing itself and even on the search page thumbnail—so you know what you’re getting into before buying. Additionally, insights under the safety tab “Area Insights” will also show if the space is in a flood zone. You can check out if a space is in an evacuation zone and its chance of flooding every year.

Natural light in apartment

Most people want an apartment with plenty of natural light, but that factor can be difficult to determine based on photos alone. Even in-person visits can be misleading, since the time of day you show up to the listing matters here.

For instance, north-facing windows don’t usually get direct sunlight. However, east-facing ones will get morning light, west-facing ones will get afternoon light, and south-facing ones get light for most of the day. If you’re someone who often works from home, having natural light during the day can be a great thing. Especially in the winter when the sun isn’t out for very long!

While many apartment descriptions will tell you that a place gets a lot of light, sometimes they exaggerate. A simple way to know how much natural light a space gets is by using Localize! All of our NYC listings include the amount of light your potential new home gets. You can also filter listings for ones with good sunlight to narrow down your search.

Noise levels

High levels of noise can be a downside that potential buyers don’t notice until after they’ve moved in. Maybe the place is near a popular bar or club—but there are also less obvious issues like nearby planes and helicopters.

Living in a noisy area is definitely not ideal. For those who work from home or even just a place to relax after a long day, quiet is key. Localize’s insights include whether or not the apartment is on an airport flight path, or has high noise levels in general. You can easily filter your search by adding a “tranquil street” to your list of needs. That way you can view homes in quiet, relaxing areas without worry about this.

Building violations

A listing and its building can sometimes look perfect in photos—but what you see isn’t always what you get. Issues like missing or lead paint, water leaks, mold, pests, and safety hazards can take you by surprise. Additionally, if any of these issues occur directly in the listed unit, it’ll be costly to make necessary repairs.

Make sure you’re purchasing a unit in a building that is well-maintained. If the maintenance and cleanliness of the building is a priority for the building managers, then you’ll know that your apartment will be cared for to the same standards!

Crime rates

Whether you have a family or live alone—you may not want to live in an area with high crime rates. However, it can be difficult to research and look up crime rates of every single area you’re interested in. This is especially true if you’re looking at multiple neighborhoods.

If you’re worried about safety, Localize can tell you the crime rates of the areas around the listings. Under “Area Insights” you’ll find a safety tab with information on whether an area has a low, average, or high crime rate. The platform’s analysis looks into violent crimes reported compared to the city averages. When searching on Localize, you can also filter for listings that are in an area with sepcifically low crime rates.

Below are some examples!

Apartment hunting can consist of long hours of searching for open houses after open houses. Luckily, there is now a way to search for the perfect new place from the comfort of your own home. Localize is here to help make your apartment search less stressful—and faster. Happy hunting!

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