Notice the small Things
Before entering a home that you are viewing for the first time, take a moment to look around at the neighbor's homes. You can often tell a lot about a neighborhood if you take notice of some of the small things. The curb appeal of the homes around you may give some insight about the stability of the neighborhood, the types of neighbors you may have, and sometimes may even be a prelude to the future of home prices in the neighborhood as well. For example the owner of a rental property is less likely to take care of a home as well as an owner that lives there will. Pride of ownership can many times be the deciding factor on whether prices in a certain neighborhood or area will appreciate faster or slower than the national average.
One of the very first things to pay attention to, are the roofs of the nearby homes. Is there a mix of different types? Maybe a few of the homes have single layer asphalt shingles and some have dimensional (often called architectural) shingles. Maybe there are homes with clay or wooden shingles or even a metal roof. Do some of the homes have black marks (sometimes called burn marks) running down them? Are a few of them starting to show their age with uplifted shingles, or even have a few missing? Are there just a couple of them in need of work, or do most of them look like they needed to be replaced years ago? The nicer the roofs are, the better it is for you as a buyer. This is especially true if there are different types of roofs present. The thought here is that if the owner, when faced with the cost of replacing their roof, decides to spend a little extra money to get a nicer roof on the outside, than they will also be more willing to spend a little extra money on the inside, and upgrades often lead to higher sales prices down the road.
In a neighborhood where most of the homes have nice roofs that are in good condition, your investment in a home, as a buyer, will be better protected in the future, than in a neighborhood where there is not a mix and the roofs are poor condition. This comparison is extremely important to take notice of in neighborhoods that are between ten and twenty years old, as this is about the time where their roofs are beginning to need to be replaced, and the first chance to see if the owners are going to be willing to invest a little and show how much pride they have in their home.