Choosing your neighborhood should be considered just as carefully as the home when you're in the market to purchase a house. Just like moving in with a roommate, communities have habits and personalities --some of which may not be the right fit for you and your family.
For example, some neighborhoods are socially active, having block parties for the Fourth of July and community watch programs with monthly meetups. If you're the type that likes to keep to themselves (and that's okay!), this neighborhood may not be the right fit.
Further still are the different needs of a couple starting a family versus empty nesters.
So when trying to figure out which neighborhood is a good fit, it comes down to doing your homework. Fortunately, researching a neighborhood is much easier nowadays than it used to be just a few years ago. City websites, community boards, and neighborhood groups on social media sites are a few places to start.
However, one of the best resources is still your real estate agent. An excellent real estate agent will make sure that both the house and the neighborhood have the essential amenities you're looking for.
Here are the most common factors that home shoppers look at when researching neighborhoods:
Safety is top of mind for anyone looking to move into a new area, not only for safety reasons but also because lower crime rates can help to keep property values steady.
To check current crime rates, look toward the local law enforcement agencies as they will typically track and share crime stats. There are also independent websites that post current crime rates. You can also see if there are any sex offenders in the area by running the address through the National Sex Offender Registry.
It may surprise you to learn that buying a home in an area known for quality education isn't just about sending your kids to a good school. Schools affect home values as well.
Local school districts have "report cards" for each of their schools on their website, available for you to download. There are also independent websites that rate schools across the country and allow you to compare them too.
What amenities do you need in your neighborhood that would increase your enjoyment of life?
Are you an avid bike rider or hiker that needs lots of trails? Are you a social butterfly that craves a vibrant nightlife and diverse dining?
Are you planning to start a family? Check out the childcare options and local activities for young children. Again, community boards, social media groups, and review sites are great for learning about the area.
Remember to spend time in your prospective city both during the day and at night to get a real sense of it. And while you're at it, check out traffic flow during rush hour and see how that will affect your commute.
Moving Into a New Neighborhood
When you're shopping for a property, make sure you also shop for the neighborhood. After all, this is the place you’ll call home for the next few years, or possibly your life.
Wondering which neighborhoods you can afford to live in? You may be surprised how much you qualify for! Contact us today to see how much you prequalify for.