When searching for homes in unfamiliar areas, or those whom may have their own cautionary tales and lore attached, there are several indicators that may help you determine if this is the place for you. Conduct a quick feasibility study by pointing out some characteristics you can find in plain sight:
1. Double pane windows
Depending on the region you live in, these resilient, transparent features can mean a few things.
- If you live in a colder climate, these are incredibly effective at reducing energy usage in your home.
- Tagging along with energy efficiency, these are also considered to be eco-friendly by reducing the burning of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions.
- These are very useful in cutting back noise pollution.
Lets expand on the last mention, noise pollution. Sure, that sounds like an awesome feature for any home, but why in this particular instance is it necessary? We hadn’t noticed, nor had agents pointed out, this feature in other homes we looked at. In fact, we were psyched that it came with such a functional accessory. Then, we stepped outside and looked up. A strong gust of wind and an overpowering rumbling came upon us as a 747 flew overhead. This house was in the direct flight path of LAX. If you’re an “aerosexual” you might actually really enjoy this, and I will admit that at night it looks pretty rad. However, it was just one of those things that wasn’t worth compromising over, so we passed. Not to mention, double pane windows are a PANE (thank you for letting me do that) to replace, as well as pretty costly.
2. Security Bars
No, this is not a place where you can feel secure with a blanket and cozy up to a hot toddy. Well, the secure part is at least true.
- In some cases, these are purely a precautionary measure to take. Maybe the homeowner traveled often or the place was used as a summer rental.
- The home owner could have been elderly and felt more secure having an iron maiden on their home.
- OR, maybe you’re neighborhood is susceptible to robberies and these are absolutely needed.
Since many of us move from apartment buildings where these are common, you may not even notice them on a home you are looking at. It also could very well be that the homeowners just never got around to taking them down. Take a look at your would-be neighbors and see if they still have them up. For all you know, these may just be a relic from the past.
Fences can also be two-faced. On one hand, they help protect your home from would be trespassers, which is useful if you’re in a neighborhood with a lot of foot traffic or curious neighbors. On the flip side, fences can also help barrier your yard for outdoor living and entertaining. Here on the west side of Los Angeles, many homes have their front yard fenced in, which really works for both sides of the coin. Just from walking up and down the streets, you can tell the front yards are being used as more of a social space, adorned with wood decks and fire pits, rather than just a lawn or garden. As pleasant as this sounds, this is not the case for other parts of Los Angeles. It really all depends on the area you’re looking in.
4. Speed Bumps
When driving around in what may be your future residence, be observant of particular road conditions. If speed bumps are present, this may be an indicator of less than ideal traffic conditions in the area. In some cases, poor road conditions with lots of cracks and potholes may mean either the city is not properly maintaining the road or there is an outrageous amount of traffic causing the road to weather like Keith Richards’ face. Speed bumps may also indicate heavy traffic and or speed demons ripping through the neighborhood. However, speed bumps could also be a precautionary measure due to a local school, government building, etc..
Our recommendations are to stay curious, be observant of the surroundings while house hunting, consider all possibilities and not to judge too quickly. As always, when looking at homes be respectful of the owners, current residence, and work with a real estate agent to help answer your questions.
Pretend you are Captain Obvious. Sometimes, the writing is clearly on the walls where you can easily make a decision. Or else, you could end up like Captain Hindsight and wish you had thought these things through a little deeper. Either way, do your homework as Captain of your own destiny!