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Top 5 Things to Look for in a Neighborhood

House hunting is not just about finding the perfect house. Location is key when shopping for real estate, and buying the right house in the wrong location can lead to buyer’s remorse.

When searching for your dream home, consider the location first. There are many factors to consider when choosing a location to start your search. Below is a list of the top 5 items you want to consider before committing to a neighborhood. 

Safety in the Neighborhood

When looking to buy a house in a particular location, we recommend looking into how safe the area is, especially for people with children. While a completely crime-free neighborhood is rare, it is essential to check criminal activity and avoid areas with high crime rates. Find a community that feels safe for you and your family.

The best way to get to know the neighborhood is by talking to the people who live there now. Get firsthand accounts of the safety of the community. You can also get a better sense of what people there are like. Introduce yourself and tell them that you might be looking to move into the neighborhood. Talk to local law enforcement as well to determine the real safety status of the community. Take the time to investigate everything about this place. It’s always better to be thorough. Many home search platforms and newspapers have crime maps of neighborhoods that you can cross reference with addresses you are interested in. 

Trust your gut. If you don’t feel secure, even if everything seems to be in order, find another location that does. Don’t settle.

Noise Level

First-time homebuyers tend to overlook this particular aspect. Take Nina and Ross as an example. Nina and Ross found their perfect home in the friendliest neighborhood. What’s the catch? They can’t get a decent night’s sleep because of how loud the clubs are near their home. 

When scouting a place, we advise you to visit at different times. Doing so helps you get a better sense of what living in that area is like. Visiting early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or in the middle of the evening lets you listen in on what the neighborhood sounds like. Is the neighborhood new construction, with homes scheduled to be built over the next few years? That could also impact your quality of life. 

Ask yourself before taking the leap: how willing are you to listen to these noises every day?

Commute Time and Transportation

It is every homebuyer’s aspiration to purchase a home not far from where they work and cut down on commute times.  Recent studies have shown that long commutes to work correlate to people’s unhappiness. If your goal is to shorten your commute and spend more time with your loved ones, you should choose a location that is close to where you work.

We also suggest looking into the neighborhood’s means of transportation. If you don’t own any private vehicles, or want to cut your carbon footprint by taking public transportation or bicycling, you must do your research on local buses, trains and bike paths. Having this information is essential to know how to get around the area if you decide to move there.

Community Development

Future amenities matter just as much as the current ones do. Your community’s development plans affect the value of properties in the neighborhood. 

When you are shopping for a home, take the time to find out about any upcoming public, commercial or residential developments in your potential neighborhood. These additions in the community highly affect the desirability of homes for sale. You also have to think about how new schools, hospitals, any other civic infrastructure can help make your life more comfortable in the long run. Can you see starting a family in this area? Do you see yourself living in this neighborhood for the next decade?

Lifestyle Fit

The neighborhood must match your current lifestyle. Determine what type of area meets your lifestyle the best. What exactly are you looking for? It may be a suburban neighborhood in a gated community or a hip neighborhood located downtown. You must choose somewhere you enjoy being and hanging out. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that lifestyle and neighborhoods matter more than ever. 

If you like to dine out, make sure that there are nearby restaurants that you like. If you prefer going out for coffee, having a go-to coffee shop makes life better. Ensure that you can thrive within the community and have the amenities that make your life comfortable.

The Bottom Line

Investing in real estate is one of the most significant financial moves anyone can make in their life. Before you take the proverbial leap:

  1. Take your time researching not only the house but the neighborhood as well.
  2. Talk to the people.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Choosing where to move next can be daunting. You want to be confident with your choice. We recommend having in-depth conversations with people you trust, may it be your family, realtor, or even your financial coach.

After all, moving to a great neighborhood ensures years of satisfaction for you and your family. 

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