August 29, 2020
Four Things to Look for in a Neighborhood Before Calling it Home
Throughout your lifetime, your home will most likely be the most substantial financial investment you make. This isn’t being mentioned to cause anyone panic, but it does go to show how important it is to make sure your home is exactly what you want/ need before you pull the trigger.
One incredibly important and commonly overlooked factor that should go into your decision-making process is the neighborhood. For any home that you are considering purchasing, take time to explore the surrounding community. While you are exploring and researching the neighborhood, take these four things into consideration.
1. Connectivity and Location
If you are not an employee who is working from home, one thing to take into account when looking at a neighborhood is the proximity to your place of work. While a 15-minute increase in commute from your last home may seem like no biggie, it does add up. Adding 15 minutes to your commute each way each day adds up to a lot more time spent in the car when you calculate the final numbers.
Another thing you may need to take into account is transportation. If you live in a bigger city and plan to take public transportation as a means of getting around, ensure that your new home is within a realistic distance to public transit stations/ stops.
School district lines are drawn up in a way that doesn’t always make sense for those living within the district. If there is a specific school district or school you’d like your children to be in, you’ll need to ensure that the home falls within that location as well. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s still a good practice to look up the quality of education in the area as this may impact resale value.
2. Find a neighborhood that matches your lifestyle
Are you looking for a quiet neighborhood to walk your dog in peace? Or a neighborhood with lots of young parents so your kids have lots of friends to run around with? While it is tough to find a neighborhood where the vibe matches your lifestyle, it is essential to maintain your happiness.
Location, as you know, affects the affordability, but other market factors play an essential role in determining the rate of resale value and the cost of the initial investment. Consulting a real estate agent who is familiar with the area can help determine if property values are on the rise, declining, or are holding steady. They will also know if there are any new developments in the area.
One of the first steps when buying a home is getting an agent whose areas of expertise align with your goals. The best Buyer’s agents will know the local neighborhoods inside and out.
This should be one of the first items on your location inspection list. Before settling into an area, visit and scan the location as well as the people living in the neighborhood. Having welcoming and thoughtful neighbors can be the difference between having a great home experience and wanting to move out as soon as you move in.
In addition, if there is a home security system provided with the property, check to make sure it is in working condition. If you’re looking into a community that consults with a security company, it may be a good idea to reach out to them for more details on the safety in the area. Driving through an area at different hours of the day could provide you a picture of the security measures in place. Also, these sorts of visits will inform you how the traffic is, how the after-hours life is, and take noise factors into consideration.
Another step you must take to ensure the neighborhood is safe and secure is checking the Crime Rates in the area. While the process is a little intimidating and you may not like what you uncover, this will help to bring to light any red flags.
4. Does the Neighborhood have any added amenities?
It’s important to have places you can hang out when you’re not inside your home. Parks, farmers markets, community centers, theaters—these are all places where you can not only get out of the house and entertain yourself, but they’re great places to make neighborhood friends if you’re looking to branch out.
In addition to this, some communities offer access to their pool or fitness center through HOA fees. Keep these additional fees in mind while considering how a home’s price may fit into your budget.