Home buying during a seller’s market can cause you to overlook some otherwise highly considered factors such as finding the right neighborhood. While the pace to place a winning bid on your dream home may be urgent for some, neglecting to focus on the neighborhood can make the win a sour victory in the end.
You not only want the best dwelling for your money but also to be surrounded by what you consider area perks. This can be as important as the dwelling itself as it is seen as making the new residence manageable and more enjoyable. When finding the right neighborhood, consider the importance of what is offered in your desired location and take time to look at what may be important ten to twenty years from now. This is, if you plan to stay a while.
Here are a few things to consider:
Schools: Even if you do not have children of your own, homes located in top rated school districts do better at maintaining their value. If you have or plan to have children, a good education may be at the forefront of desired provisions.
Transportation / Walkability: Is it important to be close to major thoroughfares or to have ease of driving to and from work? Perhaps you want to go against the flow of traffic or be near a bus route. Considering the increased environmental friendly awareness we have today you may want the ability to ride your bike or even walk to work. Many newer communities are built and focused on walkability to and from all elements of living, such as restaurants, retail and grocery stores as well as fitness centers and night life. Think about your habits not only during the week but on the weekends as well.
Arts and Entertainment: Edifying venues and local art scenes may be important to you. Everything from museums, to film, to local bands and street markets and much more fall into this category. As diverse as human culture, being close to what feeds your creative side may be at the top of your list.
Proximity to Fire/Police Stations: Believe it or not, the location of your home can have an effect on what you pay for homeowners insurance. While rates vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and even on the same street, you will pay based on the risk level your area is in. A reduction in any emergency response time is likely a reduction in premiums.
Local Conveniences: Dry-cleaners, coffee shops and even the local Walmart or Target can be considered conveniences by home dwellers. If driving six miles into town for a gallon of milk or commuting to the next city over for some Ben & Jerry’s is not something you would look forward to then perhaps living in the suburbs or rural area is not your forte. On the other hand your idea of convenience may be the alluring sound of night crickets, fields of blue, or miles of nature surrounding you. We all must judge the importance of our individual family conveniences when finding the right neighborhood.
Area Sounds/Smells: Fall is here and you have found the perfect home at a price that seems just right for you. Did you take the time to look at what is located in the miles around you? Once the summer sun shines down you may be shocked by the downwind whiff of the local plant tending to things not so desirable to your nasal perception? Or you could be near a local bakery that sends you into a huger frenzy every time they kick the ovens on? Get to know the local plants, factories, and even landfills or natural oddities located in the area.
Crime Rate: This is usually one of the first things that home buyers look at when they are contemplating a neighborhood. Take the time to look deeper though. What type of crimes are they, will you have registered sex offenders nearby, is there a neighborhood watch program, is there a known home with repeated incidences, and how active are the police at patrolling through this area? Surface reports may not tell the whole story.
Neighbors: If you are able, take time to talk to the neighbors. Drive the area both during the day and at night. Do not neglect doing so both on a week day and weekend. Do they seem to be active? Does everyone take pride in keeping their yard maintained? Are there parks and places of desired worship nearby that may be important to you? How about the traffic flow through the street? Your neighbors will have some level of effect on your overall experience.
Demographics: Consider the population of where you want to live. What is the average residence age, household income level, education level, age of the home, vacancy rate, turn-over rate, commute times, average tax rates, and even how many people rent versus own their home. Some of these factors may be irrelevant to you and some may important to what you consider an appropriate long term comfort level.
What is important to you in finding a neighborhood will differ almost always from others around you. Overall you will not find every desire met but if you list what is the most important and look at homes in the areas that fit closest to your parameters you should have an enjoyable residency with little to no regrets.
Here are a few sites that can assist you when finding the right neighborhood: Sperling’s Best Places, Find The Best, Crime Reports and Area Vibes.
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