How to Pick the Right Neighborhood for You
If you’ve ever moved to a new state, or just the city next door, you know the struggles of finding the perfect house in the best neighborhood. There’s no perfect formula for choosing a house, but there are questions you should ask yourself (and your realtor) before jumping the gun on a neighborhood you know nothing about.
Location, Location, Location
When it comes time to start looking at houses, your first instinct might be to choose a big neighborhood with lots of trees or the busy one with a bustling nightlife. However, there are a number of factors that you should consider before falling in love with the “curb appeal” of an area.
Are you keeping your current job? Or getting a new job? You’ll want to look into commute times for both you and your partner. An amazing house might be just a few miles from your workplace, but rush hour traffic could make your commute much longer than you planned.
Look for potential on/off-ramp buildups, backroad routes, and bike lanes when mapping to your commute. Some apps, such as Google maps, will allow you to map to your destination at the time you choose, so you can get to know your commute during rush hour.
Day & Night Life
If you’re young and single, you’re probably not concerned with the local school districts. Are there restaurants nearby? Concert venues? A great house in a town with little to do might not be worth it.
If you have kids, you’ll want to consider their sports leagues, after school activities, and weekend resources. Is there a public library or pool? What about a splash pad or park? All of these things should be considered ahead of time.
If you had the power to go back in time, what would you want your school experience to look like? If there were too many students, you might value smaller class sizes with a chance to work one-on-one with the teacher. Maybe you were bored every day after the final bell, a school district with interesting clubs and programs might be a priority for you.
There are plenty of online resources that can help you narrow down the best school districts for your family. Sort by test scores, college prep, teacher rankings, and more. Most school websites will also list staff members, pictures of activities, and more.
Will your neighborhood grow soon? Potential developments could impact school districts, increase taxes, and change traffic patterns. If you’re interested in learning more, visit the city hall location, the local Chamber of Commerce, or check for news online through the city website.
Ask your real estate agent what the current tax rates look like for your desired neighborhood and what the potential increases could be within the next few years. You may need to plan for these changes in your future budget.
As you contemplate your future neighborhood, it might be helpful to make a list of all the important factors of a neighborhood for you. What may be a priority to you might not be as important to your partner.
Do Your Research
Looking for more information? With a simple search, you can usually find extensive data on the state, town, and neighborhood you’re considering. Ask people you know, people at your current or new job, and especially your Realtor.
You will most likely be in your new home for a few years before you make another big change. It’s important to be honest with yourself about the things most important to you in a neighborhood. Settling for something you don’t love won’t help you in the long run.
Think Outside the Box
Go through your daily routine when thinking about your new neighborhood. Would you like to bike to work? Look into the neighborhood’s walk and bike score. Do you love stopping for coffee in the mornings? Search for areas with plenty of java-to-go.
Get Your Finances in Order
You can’t find the perfect place for you if you don’t know what your budget is. Before you even consider house hunting, meet with a Mortgage Advisor to evaluate your financial situation and find the best home loan for your long-term goals.
Ready to find your dream home? Contact a Mortgage Advisor today to begin.
First-Time Homebuyer, moving tips, new home, Realtor, right neighborhood