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Finding the Right Neighborhood

Location is probably the most important factor in finding the ideal home. Not only is location essential to the growth of the value of your home, but it is also determines how long you’ll live in the home and how comfortable you’ll be. Some important things to consider when choosing a neighborhood:
  • Reputation
  • Access
  • Schools
If you're moving within the same city, you’ll probably already know the various neighborhoods so just choose the ones that best match your priorities.
 
If you're moving to a new city, do some research on the area. Think about where you’ll be working and start in the side of town closest your job. If it’s more important that you live near people you know, pick an area that’s not too far from family and friends.
 
Having an idea of the general area in which you want to live will help your search be more focused and once you have the general area, you can use what you know about the various reputations, school systems and ease of access of the various neighborhoods to narrow your search.
 
Reputation
 
What neighborhoods have the best reputations and which ones have the worst? It goes without saying that you don’t want to live in a neighborhood with the worst reputation, but you may not find out until it’s too late if you don’t do some research before purchase a home. As the saying goes, it’s better to own the smallest home in the nicest neighborhood that you can afford than to own the nicest home in a neighborhood you hate.
 
Two factors that play a major role in determining a neighborhood’s reputation are crime rate and home maintenance. Look online to find a neighborhood’s crime rate and if you want to see how well residents take care of their home and their community, take a drive around the area. You’ll be able to see for yourself whether or not that neighborhood is the right one for you.
 
Access
 
How close do you want to be to work? Shopping? Schools? If you have children, you may want to live close to parks, playgrounds, libraries and community centers. If you don’t have a car and aren’t planning to purchase one, will it be convenient for you to walk or take public transportation to get to where you need to go?
 
If you do have a vehicle, what’s the maximum amount of time you want to spend in commute? 15 minutes? 30 minutes? 45 minutes or more than an hour?
 
Schools
 
Even if you don’t have children, having good schools nearby is still a benefit because they can increase your property value. If you do have kids, of course you’ll want access to the best schools. You can learn more about schools by doing some simple research. Ask people you know and look at reviews online. Sometimes you can even stop by the school and ask the staff. Even if you don’t get the full picture, you’ll get an idea of whether or not you’ll feel comfortable sending your child there.
When searching for a new home, you want to make sure the new neighborhood is suitable for you.
 
After dark
Drive by the house you are interested in purchasing after dark. Park on your new potential street. Pay attention to the neighborhood for a few minutes.
 
Upkeep | General Maintenance.
Property Value can spike and plummet depending on how the neighbors take care of their properties. Are the lawns groomed? Are the houses kept up and in good shape?
 
Neighbors
Make note of the kind of lifestyle your new neighbors have. Are their lifestyles compatible with yours?
 
Noise, Noise, Noise
Spend some time around your potential new neighborhood. How is the noise level? Is it too quiet for you, or too loud?
 
Weekend Traffic
Spend some time in the neighborhood on the weekend. Check noise levels, parking and the overall atmosphere of your street.
 
Elbow Room
Pay attention to how close you will be living in proximity to your neighbors. Do you share a fence, alley or driveway? Is there available guest parking?
 
Local Recreation and Shopping Center
Spend some time in your local park or shopping center nearest the house. Does it have all the services you usually need?
 
Say Hello
Don't be afraid to say hello and have a conversation with your potential neighbors. Get a first impression and ask them about the neighborhood.