In all the hustle and bustle of searching for a new home, it’s easy to overlook how and where your car is going to live. But there are important factors for house-hunters to consider when it comes to their vehicles—namely those related to safety, security, and convenience—that may impact how they feel about potential homes or neighborhoods.
Here are three handy tips that have cars so they can get the most out of their new place.
1. Make sure the parking situation works.
Whether a home’s parking space is in a private garage, a residential parking garage, a carport, or simply on the street, it’s always a good idea to know where the car will spend its down time. Private garages usually offer the most security when it comes to protecting against car thieves and bad weather, while carports and some parking garages are more open to the elements.
If street parking is the only option, keep in mind that a car’s at a significantly higher risk of getting damaged—whether it’s dings from other cars, vandalism or theft, or broken glass and storm damage. Taking preventive measures (like installing antitheft systems and covering your car while it’s parked, for instance) can do a lot in the way of safeguarding a vehicle from both cosmetic and more serious damage.
And if street parking is a must, be sure to ask about any necessary parking permits and what their prices and conditions are. Know which days the street sweepers come by so tickets and fines can be avoided. Have your clients get familiar with the neighborhood so you can more easily identify alternate (and the most convenient) places to park if your usual options fall through.
2. See what the commute would be like.
While house hunting, it’s important to take note of possible routes both to and from the workplace. Does the house require taking strictly local streets to work or does it have freeway access to help make things simpler? And even if the house does have the convenience of a freeway commute, be mindful of the severity of rush hour in that area.
Pro tip: Get to know the gas stations on the way to work and other highly frequented places like the grocery store, school, and dry cleaner. It’s useful to know where the nearest station is when running low on fuel and to see which locations tend to offer the best gas prices. Your buyers can plug their new ZIP code into the Fuelcaster gas price predictor tool to find the best bargains in the area.
3. Get a car insurance quote for the neighborhood.
Before moving, it’s wise to get a few car insurance quotes with the potential address. Sound a bit strange? It can actually be really insightful, especially if the premium increases or drops significantly regardless of insurer. Car insurance rates are affected by a number of factors, one of them being the garaging address.
If the new neighborhood has a higher auto theft rate, you could see higher car insurance premiums due to the increased risk. Likewise, if your clients are moving away from an area with higher crime or crash frequency or if their new home has a garage, they could see their rates go down. Essentially, getting car insurance quotes can tell them a little bit about the area they’re considering moving to.
They’ll need to contact their insurer anyway, and once they’ve decided on a home, it’s smart to ensure they have the right coverage and limits in place to properly protect their vehicles.
Source: Jeffrey Ill is the Vice President of Product at Esurance where he leads the homeowner insurance program.