Is This a good neighborhood?


Is this a good neighborhood?  Which neighborhood is better?  Can you recommend a good neighborhood?  I get asked questions like these every day.  I also hear statements like:  "I don’t want to live in THAT neighborhood".  "I have heard that is a bad neighborhood".  "I want to find a house in a good neighborhood".

As a licensed Realtor I can not steer home buyers away from a neighborhood or into a neighborhood.  It is against the law and could cost me my real estate license.  To keep my license I am required to take fair housing classes. 

The statement "bad neighborhood" is open to interpretation.  What is a bad neighborhood?  If crime rates are the issue home buyers should visit the St. Paul Police department web site.  Look at crime rates by city blocks.  To find out if a level 3 sex offender lives in the area go to the department of corrections web site and search by zip code.  To learn more about a neighborhood try the city of St. Paul web site.

For information about schools, demographics, quality of live and more visit the resource page on my web site and check out some of the links on the left side of this page.  Also try the St. Paul Neighborhoods Wiki. For average home prices by neighborhood see: Local market conditions and prices by neighborhood.   When it comes to style and architecture, the older homes are closer to the center of the cities, and the newer homes are further out.  See "laughing in my car" the post about the radio announcer looking for a craftsman style home in suburban neighborhoods where the style is almost non-existent.

Lot sizes get bigger further from the core.   A historic home on a large lot is fairly rare but the lots are bigger on Summit Avenue, but the prices are too steep for most.  New construction can be found through out the twin cities in most neighborhoods, much of the new construction is townhouses and condos.

Please don’t ask me if a neighborhood is good or bad.    Talk to freinds, or colleagues and ask them about their neighborhood.  Do your home work based on your criteria for what a good neighborhood is.

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9 Replies to “Is This a good neighborhood?”

  1. Being in a relocation area, we get this type of question as well. The other day someone asked “which is the best Catholic school?”.

  2. fair housing professional says:

    Excellent post, with many good tips for homebuyers. The definitions of “good” or “bad” neighborhoods can be extremely subjective and personal, so for many reasons, it’s always best to let the homebuyer make their own evaluations.

  3. Great post, T — of course we get this ALL the time. I tell my clients to look around and apply their own definitions, as you suggest – they can tell whether any given neighborhood is an area they would feel comfortable in… then of course all of your wonderful resources. You always know how to keep it fresh! Thanks

  4. Hey, I just had someone call me yesterday asking this very question. I had to tell her that I couldn’t comment and she got all mad at me and hung up. Oh, well, you can’t please them all.

    By the way, who made your map of neighborhood areas?

  5. If I come to you with the specific parameters of my neighborhood search, can you assist? For instance, if I say I’m looking for a neighborhood with:

    (1) crime rate lower than X;

    (2) school report card better than Y;

    (3) housing values better than Z;

    Are you allowed to help me identify neighborhoods that fit that criteria?

  6. Stephen – I guess the way I would handle that would be to direct you to the information, and let you do the math. I can’t recommend for or against a particular neighborhood, that is the law.

  7. Jennifer Kirby – sorry I just saw your question. It is from the city of st. Paul web site with a minor change or two.

  8. This is so true! AND when you add that we have “school choice” meaning that you can buy the house next to Palm Harbor High and still not be guaranteed to have your child in that school, we have LOTS of unhappy people who want their realtor to be able to provide info that we are not able/allowed to offer. It amazes me that parents are so resistant to call the school district to find out information about this local program when it is their child’s education on the line!

  9. Dangerous territory for real estate agents but a great explanation and helpful advice and ideas.Thanks.

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