Choosing which neighborhood to move into can be just as important as choosing which home to buy. When it comes to choosing the right neighborhood, you have to start by considering what your needs are. Making a list of what you need in a neighborhood before searching around will help focus your hunt for the right neighborhood. Because you’ll likely have to make compromises, it’s a good idea to separate your list into two categories: the must-haves, and the would-like-to-haves.
Things to Consider When Searching for a Neighborhood
It’s important to consider the pros and cons of potential neighborhoods and their surroundings. Think about what other factors might be significant, such as range in property value, type of property, schools, proximity to employment, entertainment, and the like.
Do you want to live downtown, somewhere with more of an urban vibe? Or would you rather a location that’s somewhere in between city and suburban life? Maybe you’re more interested in a lush, leafy suburban area, or even a laid back, sprawling country area. There are historic neighborhoods with tons of character, newer developments with modern features, and a number of other options to consider.
Is it important to you that there be a shopping mall nearby? Think about which shops, restaurants, and businesses you’d like to have nearby. If you’re active or a sports fan, look into nearby sports fields and open park land. Is there a local movie theater? Or an theatre that brings different traveling shows through? What about live music venues? Whatever sort of entertainment you seek, look into how available it will be to you in various neighborhoods.
Commuting to Work
What sort of commute is ideal for you? Do you work from home? If you’re commuting daily, would you want to drive or utilize a public transit system? What’s the longest commute you’d be willing to do? If you travel for work, would quick access to the airport be a big factor? Whether you work from home or frequently travel for work, think critically about how important a shorter commute is to you.
Once You Have an Idea of The Neighborhood You Want
This is the time to start digging up more information. With your ideal area in mind, begin searching for neighborhoods online. Enlisting the help of a local real estate agent can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to providing recommendations and local background information.
Background Information to Gather
- School information
- Crime statistics
- Parks and recreation
- Neighborhood associations
- Tourist attractions
Once you’ve done all your research, the next step is going out to visit the neighborhoods that made the first cut. Doing this will give you a complete picture of the prospective neighborhood and community, and ultimately ready you to make your final decision. Also, if at this point in your search you haven't spoken with a realtor yet, it's time to do that.