Choosing the right neighborhood
By: Elise Morgan
Reach her at twitter at @elisemthewriter
Things to consider when choosing a Neighborhood
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If you’re in the market for a new home, the neighborhood you move into is just as important as the bricks and mortar you invest in. Finding the perfect home means identifying the perfect neighborhood for you and your family – not the easiest task if you are relocating. Below we take a look at things you should consider when choosing a neighborhood and home along with how to identify what’s right for you.
Weigh up your priorities
To find the right home in the right area, you have to know what you are looking for. It’s useful to think about the things you like in your current location and the things you want from your new location. Ask yourself:
– What kind of vibe do you want? Inner city activity, laid-back country quiet, or a close to town location that blends the two?
– Are there specific amenities you need close by? Along with shops, schools and medical centers, is the proximity of the gym, local swimming pool or community center a priority for you?
– Is commute time and methoda consideration? Do you have a car? How long is ‘too long’ for daily work commuting?
The answers you have to the above questions will give you a great basis for the kind of community you want to live in.
Investing in a community
Figuring out if your neighbors are friendly and if the value of the property you choose is likely to rise or fall in coming years means researching different aspects of the neighborhoods you’ve identified for your property search. When purchasing a home, you’re not just buying a house, you’re investing in a community, so it pays to look into the location.
View the area at different times of day. Typically, you’ll view properties throughout the day. If you’re worried about noisy neighbors and if you’ll be able to sleep at night, or if there are families in the area that you might one day call friends, it pays to take a look at the location at different times. Drive around and look for signs of crime, vandalism and the condition of the houses and yards in the area. It can also help to do some online searches for crime rates or contact the local police department for details on an area you’re interested in.
Market conditions and home prices. Choosing a home is an investment that’s financial and emotional. If you are looking for a home that will increase in value, the neighborhood you choose will impact the price now and in the future. Look into median incomes for the area, employment rates and the expected increase of value for the area that the National Association of Realtors is predicting.
Amenities in the area. Schools, public transport links, walkability to shops, medical centers and community conveniences such as leisure and cultural centers, can impact a neighborhood’s desirability and housing prices. While your estate agent will be able to advise on some aspects of the area’s facilities, other issues such as diversity and safety of an area are prohibited topics due to Federal Fair Housing laws, so you’ll need to do your own research. Try looking into Census data and crime records.
Future Development. This can be a major factor if you’re dreaming of an out of the way, quiet spot. Future development for housing estates or local amenities can affect the housing prices, taxes, traffic, and desirability. You can look into plans for development in your area of interest by dropping into the city hall or checking with the local Chamber of Commerce.
Community. Most of us want to live in friendly communities where people are kind and look out for each other. As this is a fairly subjective, it’s best to do your own investigation. Check out the local grocery store, chat with people in the park or have a coffee in the café near where you’re planning to move. This will give you a feel for the neighborhood that you can use to base your decision on.