A common strategy among home buyers is to purchase a home in a so-called "up-and-coming" or "comeback" neighborhood. Such neighborhoods still have homes that are reasonably priced, but property values are going up and the surrounding areas are improving, meaning that if you decide to sell in a few years, you can make a profit. Unfortunately, it is all too easy for buyers to get sucked into purchasing a home in what they've heard is an up-and-coming neighborhood, only to find out a few years later that property values are not, in fact, increasing. If your goal is to buy a home in a comeback neighborhood, then you need to do your own research. Make sure the neighborhood has these qualities before you buy.
Grocery stores, restaurants, and other basic facilities are within close proximity.
If a neighborhood is located miles from the nearest grocery store, then the chances of it making a comeback are slim. Buyers look for nearby stores, restaurants, parks, and the like when buying homes. If they don't see these in the area, then they're not likely to buy in that neighborhood—which will keep property values low.
Take a drive around any so-called "up-and-coming" neighborhood before buying a home there, and make sure you see plenty of businesses within a few minutes' drive. You may also wish to contact the building permit office of the municipality and ask if there are plans for any new stores or restaurants to be built in the neighborhood in the coming months. If people are opening new businesses in the neighborhood, it's a good sign that it really is coming back or growing.
School ratings are decent.
The quality of the schools in the area is a huge predictor of real estate values. If the so-called "comeback" neighborhood is located in a terrible school district, then no matter how much work you put into your home, you may never make a profit when you try to sell it.
Your realty services should be able to give you some detailed information about the school districts in the area you're thinking of buying a home. In evaluating the quality of a school district, consider not only the average test scores, but also whether the school offers a lot of extracurricular activities, college-level courses, and community events. If the school district has a poor reputation overall, your "comeback" or "up-and-coming" neighborhood is not likely to make a real comeback any time soon—at least in terms of real estate values—and you should shop for homes elsewhere.
Other homes are being improved.
In order for property values in an entire area to go up, those who live there have to be willing and able to put money into improving and maintaining their homes. Take a drive around the neighborhood and make note of any improvements you see being done. Are there roofing contractors at work? Are there signs in the yards that have been left by contractors who recently finished projects? Have people been maintaining their landscaping, or is it being left to break down and look ratty?
The homes in a comeback neighborhood are not going to be perfect or pristine, but their owners should be making steps towards improving them. If you fail to see any signs of this, then you're better off buying in a different neighborhood. Your property values will only ever increase by a small amount if your neighbors let their homes fall to ruin.
Buying a home in an "up-and-coming" neighborhood is always taking a bit of a risk. However, if you make sure others are improving their homes, that there are businesses within close proximity, and that the school district is decent, you'll reduce your risk of buying a home that's hard to sell for a profit in the future.