How secure is the neighbourhood

HOW SECURE?: Ask a few questions.

WHEN it comes to choosing a property in Spain, we can usually be guided by common sense about the property itself but what about the security of the neighbourhood it’s in?

This is an increasingly important consideration in buying a property and one of the main reasons why many people are inclined to invest a premium on one property in an area over another, or to buy a home in a gated estate.

Experts agree that real security in an area depends far more on the collective attitude of the neighbourhood to security than just the individual investment in the security of the house.  Security tips for your home aside, there is a lot you should try uncover for yourself about the area if you are a buyer.

Fortunately in Spain crime rates are relatively low, especially when compared to the big cities in some other European countries. But there are always neighbourhoods which are best avoided for a bit of peace of mind.

This will sometimes be reflected in the price – but remember in Spain there are many amazingly good value properties available in friendly and comfortable areas.

So how do you know which is a safer area than another? Your first port of call should be your estate agent. A true professional will have an intimate knowledge of the areas they cover and will be able to give you reliable advice. But there other things you can do:

1) Talk to the neighbours personally. At least the houses on each side of the property you want to buy, as well as those in front and behind the subject, or apartments in the same block. When chatting to the neighbours pay attention to the consistency of their comments.
3) Observe the security in those homes and ask if any incidents resulted in them taking any extra measures.
4) If your home is part of a ‘community of owners’ – and most are in Spain – talk to the president of the community and if possible the administrator if at all worried. You should be able to get a feeling of the security of the area from them.

5) Many urbanisations have private security patrols – don’t be alarmed! They are there not necessarily because there is a significant problem, but to make sure one doesn’t develop. Find out which security company is used and note the level of satisfaction for these services.
6) Take a good drive around the property and look for any obvious concerns.
– Is the street a popular route for pedestrians or taxis at certain times of the day?
– Are there a lot of vagrants in the area
– is there a commercial area close to you that may be positive or negative (Remember at night commercial areas are usually quiet and deserted)

In conclusion remember to be realistic – there are no crime free areas.  Once you have bought a home you should in any event call a couple of security companies to come and give you a free security evaluation. They will give you a better insight to what you can do to make your home more secure and less inviting for thieves.

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Written by

Dilip Kuner

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