You know you want to buy a house. You’ve been saving and getting everything in order for a mortgage pre-approval but how do you decide where that house will be? There are a number of factors you should consider before you start your search and ask yourself, “What is my ideal neighborhood?”
If you plan on starting a family in your forever home you should consider what type of education your children will be subject to. No pun intended. Acquire a map of the school districts from your town hall or city hall to see where each neighborhood will land and which school falls in that district. Even if you are single, a good school system can raise the property value so make sure the homes in that neighborhood are still within your budget. Education. If you plan on starting a family in your forever home you should consider what type of education your children will be subject to. No pun intended. Acquire a map of the school districts from your town hall or city hall to see where each neighborhood will land and which school falls in that district. Even if you are single, a good school system can raise the property value so make sure the homes in that neighborhood are still within your budget.
No one wants to live in a dangerous neighborhood. Take a look at the local crime statistics before forging into the neighborhood. Look for trends that may work to your benefit. For example, if the crime rate is going down, you may get a possible steal on property in an up and coming neighborhood. Beware of rising crime rates even in an affluent area. You don’t want to get stuck paying too much for your home and having the property value go down, not to mention you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping your family safe.
Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to drive an hour to get groceries? Survey everything surrounding your desired neighborhood. This may not be high up on your list of importance for your ideal neighborhood but it is something you need to think about. If you don’t like going to the grocery store and prefer delivery services make sure that they are available in the area. Other things to consider are proximity to restaurants, playgrounds if you have children or are planning on starting a family, local businesses as well as chain stores.
This may seem like a “no brainer” but you have to be honest with yourself, how far are you willing to travel for work? Are you going to be driving, walking, or taking public transportation? Map out your potential commute using Google Maps or any other online map service. If you plan on driving, take into account not only the time spent in the car but average cost of gas, tolls, wear and tear on your vehicle, the longer the commute the more frequent you may need to have your vehicle serviced with oil changes, tires, etc. Walking is free but make sure you take into account weather and how that may affect your commute. Public transportation is a great alternative but also, remember that it isn’t a free service. You will also want to make sure that your income is comparable to the cost of living in that area.
Historic neighborhood or new development
There are a lot of pros to moving into a neighborhood deemed a Historical District. It’s quiet, the area is typically kept clean, and the historical landmarks make for interesting aesthetic. The cons are there might be noise restrictions past a certain hour and there may be restrictions on what can be done to the exterior. In contrast a new development will be completely updated. However, there may be a similarity in each home’s design. Creating a unique aesthetic may be harder to obtain. The interior is where you will see your value with newer plumbing, heating, windows, etc.
Stop and listen. If you are in a remote location in the woods there will be sounds of nature filling your nights. Look up to see if there are active train tracks nearby. Just because the train doesn’t go through your backyard that doesn’t mean you won’t hear it. Airports are another deceiving source of sound. If your neighborhood is under a flight route you could see multiple planes taking off or landing at all times of the day. A hospital in close proximity is convenient in emergency situations but will not only have sounds of sirens but can also be a hub of activity with visitors and employees coming to and fro. Highway access is a must for some, especially commuters. But if you are too close you will have noise as well as traffic if you live in an urban or suburban area.
Remember, this is about your ideal neighborhood. Start there and then make concessions as needed but don’t compromise your entire vision. Home is where the heart is but let’s make sure that heart is in the right place.