Narrow your home search by identifying neighborhoods that are right for you. This helps keep your search focused and efficient. Your local realtor can offer neighborhood information to guide you in your search.
When evaluating a neighborhood you should investigate local conditions. Depending on your own particular needs and tastes, some of the following factors may be more important considerations than others:
- quality of schools
- property values
- crime rate
- future construction
- proximity to schools, employment, hospitals, shops, public transportation, prisons, freeways, airports, beaches, parks, stadiums and cultural centers such as museums and theaters
A major consideration for most home buyers when it comes to choosing where to live is how they’ll get to the places they go regularly. In neighborhoods near or in a city, prime locations are typically close to public transit options. Many suburban communities are being designed around a “town center” concept so that residents can walk to restaurants, shops and entertainment and sometimes even to work.
When you’re looking for a home, you should consider how convenient it is for you and for future potential buyers when you’re ready to sell.
Homes that are located close to a subway station or to popular commuter routes are often more costly than those that require a longer commute to a city center, so ask your realtor to show you neighborhoods that may have similar attributes but are less expensive. Alternatively, if living in a particular neighborhood is your number one priority, you may need to compromise in terms of the size home you buy or its condition.
How to compare neighborhoods
It’s important to visit a prospective neighborhood at various times of day and on both weekdays and weekends to get a feel for what it would be like to live there. Look at how the homes are maintained to see if they meet your standards. Try to talk to residents about what the community is like and test out your commute at the time of day you typically go to work.
Finding the right neighborhood takes some legwork, but it’s important to choose a place to live where you want to come home every night.
Take a Look Around
Spend time walking through the neighborhood. Take note of the condition of the houses, the front yards, the streets and sidewalks. Observe if people you encounter make eye contact with you. If they do, chances are it’s a safe and friendly community. Check for vacant lots or abandoned buildings. Both could be used for commercial developments which could change the feel of the neighborhood and impact the property values. Note the traffic and speed and if the streets seem quiet or noisy.
I recommend taking a few walks through the neighborhood. Try doing this at different times of the day to get a sense of its highs and lows.
Also note the type of individuals living in the area. Young families versus college students comprises a completely different kind of neighborhood as does older homes than high-rises and condos.