Kimberly Wingfield: Philly Real Estate Agent
Kimberly Wingfield

How To Preview A Neighborhood Before You Visit!

It’s a sticky problem that a lot of people face – especially when they’re relocating from afar. How can you get a good idea of what a neighborhood looks like without driving or walking through the area first? What kind of shape are the houses in near the seemingly lovely and affordable place you have your eye on? What about crime rates? And can a real estate agent help me out here?

Let me just start off by saying NO – a real estate agent is prohibited by law from going into crime rates, blight, etc. in any given neighborhood due to the ugly ramifications of evil redlining and blockbusting practices in decades past. While it’s understandable that you’d want us to offer some input/insight into the neighborhoods you’re considering, please understand that we’re really not able to offer specifics.

That said, the internet makes it easy nowadays to get a feel for a given area, block, etc. from almost anywhere in the world. Google’s Street View feature (as well as Bing and other similar services) offer a great way to check out a given address at ground level, and you can easily move your mouse around the area to see what’s nearby. It’s a great way to see if there are too many boarded-up buildings, potentially noisy bars, etc. that might be a turn-off, and Street View can also highlight the positive aspects of any neighborhood as well. Pretty, well-kept homes, plenty of shops and services nearby, and easy access to public transportation? You’ve likely got a winner!

OK, so the neighborhood looks charming and convenient so far. What about crime rates? In this case, I recommend Trulia’s excellent feature on the topic, which tells you the level of crime – as well as the type of crime – in a given area. However, it’s worth noting that you should click on the little black dots here in order to determine exactly what’s going down in a neighborhood before being scared off. For instance, Rittenhouse Square – one of Philadelphia’s wealthiest and most prestigious areas – looks like a war zone if you look at Trulia’s crime maps. However, clicking on the little black dots tells you that the prevailing type of crime there is overwhelmingly simple theft. While I’m not excusing that type of behavior, that’s something that isn’t uncommon in an area filled with retail shops – which pepper Rittenhouse Square/Center City Philadelphia from end to end. An area with constant complaints of shootings, burglaries, and rape, on the other hand, is something you might want to think twice about.

Edit 11/20/14: Extra information on almost any given neighborhood can also be found at, including average neighborhood home prices, crime statistics, school districts, and appreciation rates!

Finally, it’s worth noting that you should trust your gut instinct about any given place – and it’s ok to give a place a pass because the neighborhood just isn’t your cup of tea. Sometimes you find yourself perfectly comfortable and happy in an area that people have warned you about – and sometimes you find yourself inexplicably ill at ease in a trendy, heavily policed area. Philly’s a place that offers a lot of affordable and safe areas in and around the city, so use the tools above to check out the areas near any houses you have in mind – the results might surprise you!

One Response to “How To Preview A Neighborhood Before You Visit!”

  1. February 17, 2015 at 8:17 pm, International Buyers: Interested In A Piece of Philadelphia? | Kimberly Wingfield: Philly Real Estate Agent said:

    […] should cover most of the bases – and as always, feel free to ask any questions! Furthermore, this blog post on scouting out a neighborhood anywhere can be a big help when choosing a property from […]


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About Kimberly Wingfield

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Kimberly Wingfield

Real Estate Agent

267-530-5641267-530-5641 main

Virtual Realty Group

1418 Robinson Rd, Havertown, PA 19083


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