Published February 10, 2022. Updated October 19, 2023.
Finding a real estate investment that offers the best returns is often about location, location, and location. However, "location" encompasses a wide range of factors that can impact your bottom line.
To generate the best financial outcome from an investment, it'sevaluating factors like property taxes, the job market, and neighborhood amenities is essential. In addition, one part of this equation that's often overlooked or is difficult to evaluate is the crime rate.
In this blog, our Chester County property management experts talk about how to consider area crime statistics when analyzing a potential investment property!
Neighborhood Safety Matters to Renters!
When choosing a property, investors often have to think like a renter. From the perspective of most tenants, location matters—but it also has to be a safe location.
So, keeping quality residents in a rental property long-term means providing homes in safe areas where renters enjoy their lifestyle in a safe neighborhood with low crime rates.
Failing to consider the crime rate in a prospective neighborhood can dash your hopes of a profitable rental property! Neighborhood safety is a top deciding factor for prospective tenants.
When analyzing potential rental property ROI, take time to research local crime rates and talk with residential property management experts about how these numbers could impact your bottom line.
How to Analyze Crime Rates When Considering a New Investment Property
So, where can a property owner find crime information about a neighborhood? From websites to digging into local information from municipal resources and property managers, investors should incorporate multiple sources to gain an accurate picture of crime rates in an area.
Depending on the location of your potential property in Chester County or the surrounding areas, crime rates can fluctuate from neighborhood to neighborhood and over time. Make sure information is current and accurate when evaluating a property and location to ensure you aren't caught by surprise with what you thought was a property in a low-crime area.
Use Resources to Investigate Neighborhood Safety
With the right online crime mapping tools and safety resources, investors have more access than ever before to see if a potential neighborhood will offer the safety level your tenants demand.
For instance, AreaVibes is an online tool that delivers information about neighborhoods, including a livability score based on up-to-date crime rates collected from various local law enforcement agents.
Similarly, searching for information on SpotCrime produces neighborhood-specific crime rates. Other online resources to explore include the National Sex Offender Public Website, County Records, and Google searches.
You can also check news websites and local news sources. If an area you're considering for rental properties is often in the news with stories of crime and neighborhood decline, it could be wise to find a property in another area.
Extract Useful Information From Crime Data
What should property owners do with the information they find? Applying insights from the information you find can require local insights!
While the resources we mentioned above are helpful in providing information, sometimes additional local context is helpful. Property managers can help you connect numbers and statistics to trends or types of crimes in areas that might be wise to avoid for your next investment.
Real estate investors should also look for crime rate trends as these change from year to year. Scratch off areas that show a gradual increase in certain crimes and look for neighborhoods experiencing lower crime rates and revitalization.
Crime stats can also help reveal if transitional neighborhoods are worth your investment! An area experiencing revitalization and showing signs of safety improvements and crime reductions can be an excellent place to invest in rental homes at lower prices before property values increase.
Visit the Neighborhood
There's a wealth of information to be gained from getting firsthand experience of your prospective neighborhood before buying new real estate investments in the area. If you're able, take the time to visit the area in person. However, if you can't make the trip before losing out on the deal, contact a local property management company like Rentwell.
When touring the community, a property management expert can help you look for warning signs of a troubling location, including:
Fewer kids playing in the street
Poor street lighting
A heavy presence of police in the area
Nearby properties that are in a state of disrepair (broken windows, run-down buildings, or overgrown yards)
These are signs that a neighborhood might not be a safe place to invest. On the other hand, limited police presence, a neighborhood watch, and a thriving community social scene are often signs of a safe neighborhood!
A property manager can drive the streets with you (in person) or set up a time for a video meeting and tour of the neighborhood.
Asking the right questions can help you with the answers you need!
When visiting a neighborhood, talk to business owners, property management experts, and nearby residents. Ask them whether they would recommend the place and if there's been any recent criminal activity in the area.
Numbers and statistics can tell you a lot, but firsthand experience can often help you make informed decisions about your next investment property!
A Chester County Property Manager Helps Investors Analyze Neighborhoods!
Analyzing the crime rate before building your real estate investing portfolio with a new property can take time. Still, it's a necessary component to finding the best properties and maximizing returns! Fortunately, the best local property management company has valuable insights that can help you make quicker work of studying a neighborhood and running the numbers. Having such reliable information on hand ensures that you make an investment that generates the long-term income you need to meet your goals!
Getting valuable input from an experienced property manager like the team here at Rentwell when evaluating an investment is just the first step. With professional property management services, investors enjoy better returns, including tenant screening, lease drafting, day-to-day maintenance, and more. If this type of full-service property management sounds like what you need to experience better rental property ROI, don't hesitate to get in touch with the Rentwell team!
What does the ideal rental property look like? Find out what you need when downloading our free "The Biography of the Perfect Investment Property!"