There are so many things to consider when buying a home, and finding the right neighborhood for you is no exception. Before attending open houses and making appointments with realtors, do your research and make a list of your priorities and “must-haves” for your ideal new neighborhood. After all, you don’t want to fall in love with a home and have it be in the wrong location. As spring approaches and home buying season gets underway, here are a few helpful tips about how to choose the right neighborhood as you begin searching for the perfect home.
Establish Your Priorities
Do you want a big yard or no yard? Are you interested in a single family home or a condo? How far are you willing to commute? Would you like to be within walking distance of restaurants and shops? These are all things to consider prior to looking for a home. While you probably will have to make compromises to find the best available home for you, you should know where you stand on each of these factors and determine which of them are “must-haves.”
Gather the Stats
With your area of the city or town in mind, start compiling background information on schools, crime statistics, tourist attractions and neighborhood associations. Data on these important factors will not only help you in making your decision, but will also help determine the right price to pay for your home and what you can expect when it eventually becomes time to sell.
Visit the Scene
Once you’ve done your background research, visit each of the potential neighborhoods to get a sense of what it would be like to live there. Visualize yourself in the neighborhood – if you need a coffee every morning, is there a coffee shop nearby? Where’s the closest grocery store? Is there an area to walk your dog or go for your morning jogs? Drive through the neighborhood at different times of the day. Are people out socializing during the day with other neighbors? Is it loud at night or are all the houses dark by 9 p.m.? This will give you a good sense of what the community is like.
Find a Home
You’ve narrowed it down to a few neighborhoods and now the hard part is (mostly) over. It’s time to start looking for a home in those communities. Sit down and figure out what your budget is and how much you can afford in your desired neighborhood. Don’t forget related costs such as maintenance, insurance, real estate taxes, and homeowners’ or condo association fees. Schedule time with your bank or mortgage lender to determine what kind of mortgage works for your budget and the loans you are eligible for.
The home buying process can seem stressful but take your time and have patience when looking for a new home. It’s one of the biggest investments you’ll make and you’ll want to check off all the boxes before signing the papers.
Once you’ve found your home, you may find these articles interesting:
- Tried and Tested Painting Tips for Homeowners
- How to Remove Wallpaper (Learned From Real Life Lessons)
- Home Care Tips for New Homeowners — including a homemade goo remover that actually works.