For a young couple or a single professional, one way to end up with high value real estate with a low budget is to choose an up and coming neighborhood. Often called gentrification, this is when a neighborhood that was on the decline is "rediscovered," so that new residents, businesses, and services, as well as a whole neighborhood face lift, begin moving in. In many cases you can purchase a condo cheap at the beginning stages of the gentrification process, and then watch as it quickly increases in value as the neighborhood becomes more desirable. The following tips can help you choose a neighborhood on its way to becoming a winner.
Tip #1: Look for new businesses
The first thing to hit a neighborhood on the rise is usually commercial. This is because basic services need to be in place before prospective homeowners are attracted to the area. Not just any businesses will, do, though. If you want to find a hip feel, then look for an increase in quirky or trendy independent businesses, like cafes, gastropods, or galleries. Those backed by successful local businessmen and women, or restaurants linked to a popular local chef, are a sure sign that the neighborhood is moving up. Trendy chains moving into the area, such as a more upscale grocery store or a popular coffee chain, can also indicate a new cool 'hood in the making.
Tip #2: Tour the area for signs of rejuvenation
The face lift should extend beyond new businesses and also be reflected on the old. At first, this is usually sporadic – an existing shopfront getting power washed and painted, or a few homeowners bringing in remodelers for the inside and out. Drive through the neighborhood a few times over the next few months and look for these signs of rejuvenation. You should find consistent signs of improvement, otherwise the neighborhood might not be quite ready to gentrify. At the same time, you don't want the improvements to be too widespread or you may already be priced out of the market.
Tip #3: Search for creative digs
One of the best ways to get an uber-trendy home in the up and coming neighborhood at a good price is to look for condos going into non-traditional buildings. Often, neighborhoods fall into disrepair because the commercial spaces were no longer needed. When the neighborhood is rediscovered, developers begin getting creative with these cheap empty properties. This is why you see cool apartments in old malls or school buildings, or warehouse district condos. The best features of the old buildings, such as the large open space and industrial chic of a warehouse, is preserved, but modern features make it into a comfortable home. You can often get a decent deal if you get in on the ground floor of such a project, since the developers will want a few people to buy right away so the building isn't empty, since this can better attract future buyers at a higher price.
Work with a real estate agent to find your perfect next home in a soon to be cool neighborhood.