How to assess a street within a suburb

When you think of your current neighbourhood, are there certain areas you would opt to avoid? Perhaps some troublesome homeowners who host all-night house parties, or maybe busy roads that make the commute to work unbearable or even streets with difficult parking? As property investors, there is often an abundance of articles featuring a city’s latest hotspots telling you what suburbs are the best to buy in, yet there are rarely any detailing how to assess a street in a neighbourhood you’ve chosen.

When you come to purchasing your next property, we suggest taking a look at the three following prompts to help you decide whether the property it is a smart investment for you and your family.

1. Search Online
In today’s fast-paced technological era, every property buyer’s first step should be checking out the neighbourhood via a simple google search. While the internet won’t provide an answer to everything, online suburb profiles will give you an indication of the obvious pros and cons of the area. Perhaps you’ll find a lot more properties on the market than you expected, or maybe there will be a dissatisfied resident commenting on their issues with the area, either way it is a valuable insight into the area that would be hard to get elsewhere.

We also suggest taking a look at your potential street on Google Maps and StreetView to get an idea of its proximity to local amenities such as public transport, shopping centres, and similar important suburb features. This will help to ensure you aren’t considering a street with poor access to the suburb’s best qualities. Take note of whether the images on StreetView have been updated recently, as you may notice some differences between the exterior of homes, shops and the surrounding area.

2. Visit
Next, we recommend taking a look at the neighbourhood. Take a drive toward the street you’re considering, check out what surrounding streets are like and see how they compare to what you know from the rest of the suburb. Make sure to use your senses – listen for noise pollution and keep a look out for rubbish, graffiti or disruption in the neighbourhood. Keep an eye out for how busy main roads can get, and how noisy the streets are. Consider visiting at all different times of day – peak hour, end of school day, Friday nights and weekends to get a general idea of the neighbourhood’s feel and activity.

Take a look at the different types of housing stock available along your potential street. Compare the property you are interested in against others as these homes are both your competition, and the homes that can add value to your street appeal down the track. You definitely want to take notice of any ill-maintained properties, as any signs of debris or rubbish may be something you want to be aware of.

3. Get in touch with an expert
a) The Council
Give the local council a ring and ask about the street in question and any new developments or changes within five kilometres. You might find that any noise on the road is set to stop with a bypass being put in, or something similar in the near future. You can also find out whether the street is in a flood or other natural disaster zone.

b) Property Managers
If you are considering making this new house an investment property, get in touch with your local property manager who may be able to tell you where the more sought-after rentals are located, as well as warn you away from any potential problem areas. Make sure you select a property manager with great communication skills, experience in the local area and solid market knowledge.

c) Real Estate Agents
Next, approach local real estate agents to offer some insight on the neighbourhood. Ask agents who aren’t directly involved with your property sale which part of the suburb is more desirable and which streets achieve higher prices. Don’t forget to ask for their reasoning and some examples, where possible, of successful houses and streets in the past. Again, make sure you select an agent with a good knowledge of the area and a proven track record of ongoing training and industry education.

d) Building and Pest Inspectors
Friendly building experts can let you know the streets prone to termite damage and other issues, or where there may be concerns around the specific building types. Don’t underestimate their knowledge and soak it up if you get the chance!