Here are some considerations for anyone who is new to searching for a home in Central Houston:
• While much of Houston is not zoned, check out potential restrictions such as deed restrictions and historic district status – the latter has been spreading through Central Houston. While restrictions can be very beneficial for neighborhood preservation, they might not be compatible with a buyer’s future vision for their new property.
• It’s relatively quick and easy to check the reputation of volume builders in large suburban communities, but inner city builders and renovators may be very small or even brand-new. Real estate agents and previous buyers can be good sources to check with.
• If schools are a consideration, keep in mind that the reputations of inner city schools can vary widely from campus to campus, even within a small geographic area. Urban districts such as Houston ISD have many outstanding magnet and neighborhood schools, however, attendance boundaries are not often flexible.
• When moving into a transitional neighborhood, keep in mind that problems such as crime, litter and rundown or abandoned properties may still take several more years to turn around. Redevelopment, while sometimes fast, can also progress very slowly.
• If it’s important to you, consider that large tracts of open or industrial land, especially if they border a major street, can be redeveloped as multifamily residential, commercial or other.
• If a home or neighborhood is located near a major freeway, keep in mind that urban freeways are always candidates for expansion. Do your research on projects that have been announced or talked about. The expansion of I-45 North and the proposed Houston-Dallas high-speed rail line may impact a number of Central Houston neighborhoods.
• As with high-rise and mid-rise living anywhere, keep in mind that a great view is never guaranteed to last forever, unless your building looks onto a park or other green space.