When choosing a home, you may want such features as a spacious yard or a chef’s kitchen. However, you need to consider other aspects of your new home, too. One important factor: Does the neighborhood suit you? Your home can always be remodeled to align with your style if need be, but you can’t change its location.
So how do you choose the right neighborhood for you and your family? Here are a few pointers.
Decide which features are important to you
Make a list of must-have features you want from a neighborhood. Most homebuyers desire amenities such as being in a good school district; close proximity to shops, restaurants, and bars; a short commute to work; homes with curb appeal; and friendly neighbors.
Once you’ve figured out what you want in a neighborhood, talk to your real estate agent as well as your friends and family. Together, they can bring up things that you may not have considered and help you figure out which parts of town to start looking in.
When moving within the same city, you probably already have a general idea of the various neighborhoods and where you’d like to move to. However, when moving to a new city, you’ll need to dig a little deeper and research the neighborhoods online.
Ask your agent for recommendations and then search for details about potential neighborhoods such as the crime rate in the area and the quality of the schools. Remember that school district lines can be deceptive – your home might not be in the district feeding into the school closest to you.
Talk to people in the vicinity
When you narrow your search to a few neighborhoods you like, go drive through or walk around each and chat with the neighbors and local vendors. Find out whether they like the neighborhood and community and would recommend it to friends or family. If they wouldn’t, it’s probably best to continue your search elsewhere.
Also, just visiting the neighborhood will often give you a good idea of whether you could see yourself living there. Did you get a good first impression when you visited the neighborhood? Were there a lot of ‘For Sale’ signs in yards or buildings that have been vandalized? Did you hear sirens or noises from nearby train tracks or highways? Be on the lookout for facets of neighborhood life that may not be listed online.
Now for the hard part
Once you’ve narrowed the communities even further, start looking for your dream home. Just keep in mind that the physical structure of the home can be changed to meet your specific tastes, but the location is permanent.
Make a list of everything you want in a home and your price range and have a real estate agent help you find your dream home in the perfect neighborhood.