Author Topic: How are others gauging property qualities like school districts and crime rates?  (Read 1192 times)

not_a_trex

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I'm trying to do some preliminary research in a neighbourhood for buying a rental property. Zillow has some useful information on general facts about the property, but I'm a little sceptical on their measurements for things like local schools and crime rate. And since I'm not in the area it's hard to know how reliable those numbers are.

Do others use different tools (eg websites, ratios between two values, etc) to measure things that affect a property's value but are harder to quantify?

NoNonsenseLandlord

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I use rents and expenses.  I do not care about the location, other than a classification.  A, B, C, D.

If you are priced right, you will rent with minimal vacancy.

not_a_trex

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I would think though that crime rate would affect more than just vacancy rates. Say you're renting in an area with a high burglary rate. The property's windows get smashed once or twice a year (and that was the only thing that went wrong for you with this robbery). I would suspect that you're going to get a call from the tenant related to this, so more work for you. And you're going to have to pay to replace the windows, which affects the property's expenses.

Or is that somehow already built into the classification system? I thought A,B,C,D had to do with property appreciation (which I could see correlates to things like crime rate), but was not a direct measurement of other factors.

clarkfan1979

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Burglaries are going to be under-reported in lower income neighborhoods. Some high income neighborhoods have a high burglary rate because criminals are strategic. There is empirical data to support this trend.

One of my friends is a retired police officer. He said that if you want to lower the crime rate, just hire less police. This will be less man power to do the reporting and the rate will go down. As a result, I do not pay attention to crime rates.

One exception is stolen cars. Stolen cars need to be reported because of registration and insurance.

Neighborhoods with the best schools are going to be the most expensive. As a result, there is very little chance of any cash flow. However, there could be some appreciation.

Walking and biking through a neighborhood every day for a month should give you a pretty good idea of who lives there and what goes on.