House Hunting: Choosing Your New Neighborhood

Buying a home is a huge step for most people. It can be a long, rigorous process where realtors spruce up each place, stick to their script of boasting about the property and its pros, but you’re still left not knowing anything about the neighborhood or where you’d actually be living if you moved in.

 

Finding the neighborhood that most suitably meets your needs is integral. You can have a great house, but that isn’t what makes a great home.

 

Looking back on when my parents were house hunting, I can remember them asking many questions about the house, the area, as well as numerous other things that would interest a potential homeowner. Below are some key factors to consider when choosing your new location.

Commute

When shopping for a good home, one thing that many of us consider is our job. How long will it take me to go to and from work on a daily basis? Your daily commute can be a financial factor and not just a proximity factor. With gasoline costs fluctuating unpredictably, more and more potential home buyers consider the distance from their house to their job.

Schools

Let’s face it. Choosing a home that is in the district of a good school is many future parents’ top priority when looking for a house. Keep In mind, however, not every house that is a prospect will be near the high ranking school districts. That’s why some thorough research and asking around will make selecting a home much more refined.

Making the decision to buy a home is a big one. If you know that children are in your future, or already have them, then you will undoubtedly want the best for them. Start by making a list of the schools that are near all of the homes that you are partial to. Then, compare the school’s test scores, the academic achievements of the school’s educators, what sort of extracurricular activities they offer, as well as electives. Is it in a safe area? What are the school’s core values? Do these values align with your own?

If the traditional public school environment does not meet your requirements, then you could consider homeschooling or research charter as well as private schools nearby. Nonetheless, even the decision to homeschool doesn’t eliminate the importance of choosing a good school within the area.

Resale Value

We all know that things can change in your life in an instant. Sometimes, we want a change of scenery or a new backdrop. Before uprooting, however,  there’s always the obstacle of selling your current home. The future may be unclear, but there are safeguards in place as long as you consider the future and what it might bring. When buying a home, always keep in mind what variables can improve, or at least sustain, the resale value of a prospected property.

One thing to look for is not only the cosmetic condition of the home’s exterior that you’re interested in buying but also the visual conditions of the surrounding real estate. If any facades on surrounding properties are deteriorating or appear to be unkempt, that could affect its resale value. The front yards of any surrounding houses can also be a positive or negative contributing factor of the visual aesthetic.

Convenience

What sorts of things are nearby? How far away is the nearest grocery store? What is there to do? These are some questions to ask your realtor when you’re feeling pretty good about the house you’re being shown. Convenience is an important element when buying a home because you want to ensure that you’re resources are close, and provide efficiency for the flow of your daily lifestyle.

When people shop for a home, some of the sought after close-range resources include grocery stores, restaurants, shopping centers, fun activities, or family-friendly attractions. Other ideal resources could be home improvement stores, fire departments, a police department, etc. to provide future families a sense of security where they live.

Neighbors

“Our last neighbors were terrible! It was four college boys living together and constantly throwing parties early into the morning.” This is a very realistic scenario that might make you more cautious when it comes to the long-term commitment of purchasing a house.

Meet the neighbors first. If the house is everything you could possibly want, the next thing to do is meet some of the people next door. Consider asking them how long they’ve lived in the neighborhood and what their experience has been living there. Be on the lookout to see if any neighbors are parents that could provide your family or future children with other children to play and interact with. Another useful question to ask could be if the neighbors knew the previous owners of the house, and why they decided to move.

You may even come to find that you relate to your neighbors or have things in common with them. Will they go from friendly neighbors to close friends? Will you have potential barbecues with these folks? Do your core values resonate with theirs and vise versa? Good neighbors can also refer you to schools, help plug you into other resources, or simply be new and positive relationships to help you assimilate into the new environment.

 

Buying a new home is a very big move to make. The decision for most people is not an easy one and can be very stressful, especially if you are transitioning from renting to owning a property. However, with a little research here and there, you’ll find your stress start to dissipate and a new and exciting time in your life begin to unfold! Good luck!