By Jacklyn Renz
You’ve made the decision to move from one home to another. Exciting, isn’t it? While you peruse the internet and drive around taking in the sights of several new-home hopefuls, have you considered the immediate location of your potential places? If our house is the ultimate picture of homestead happiness that we hope to see ourselves in, then the neighborhood is the frame in which that picture is encased. We have gathered a few points of perfection for your new neighborhood.
Pinpoint Your Wants
Before setting foot in a home, sit down with your family to list out what you want in your new neighborhood. You should of course consider the price point of the house, but don’t stop there. Think on the small things that make your life pleasurable such as sidewalks or access to a pool. What kind of space do you want between you and your neighbors? Do you want to live in a Neighborhood Watch Protected Area? Are you looking for a single-family home or something different? This list of neighborhood wants will serve as a great jumping off point.
Valuing the View
As you make your way through each neighborhood, take in the view and we don’t just mean the scenery. Look at the other houses surrounding your potential home. Do your neighbors keep the yards well manicured? What about the upkeep of the homes themselves, such as paint jobs and gutters? Observe the signage, too. Are there several rental signs? If so, your neighbors may fluctuate on a more than desirable basis. What about foreclosures? Considering these points will give you an idea of how well your home will hold its value.
Commute and Convenience
When deciding where to live, remember that much of our time is spent outside of the home. Consider your commute time to your 40-hour a week home away from home. If you have children, choose a house close to their school, especially if they are involved in after-school activities that will take you there more than five times a week. Close proximity to your most frequented locations will give you more time to enjoy your new house and less time in your car.
Pondering Potential Expenses
Besides the price tag of the mortgage, the neighborhood that you choose can also affect your monthly expenses. For starters, property taxes differ depending on what county and state you reside in. At times, development within an area can also raise property taxes. Further still, some neighborhoods have monthly or annual HOA fees. A Homeowner’s Association can regulate the upkeep of your home and mandate certain updates that could potentially cost you money.
Cruise and Observe
All neighborhoods seem to take on a culture of their own. Try to get an idea for the feel of the neighborhood before you sign on the dotted line. Cruise through at all hours of the day and after dark. Once the sun dips down, are there people still out? Are there families around? Do you see several cars parked on the road or are they garage kept? These are just a few of the clues that give us an idea of what sort of neighborhood we are buying into.
Sights, Sounds, and Smells
We’ve covered several points on the sights already, but let’s hammer that one home. Take a look at your potential immediate neighbors’ houses. Make note if they have anything, such as a tarp covered car or a broken down fence that may be less than desirable to look at each day. When cruising through at various hours, try to notice whether or not the neighbors are loud. What about the buzz of a busy road? Finally, take a whiff of the air. It may sound strange, but you never know if there may be a sewer backup or a stagnant body of water nearby.
When you are assessing your neighborhood, research goes a long way. Look up the crime rates in the various possible home locations. Review your family’s collective personality. When it comes to your lifestyle, think about local points of interest that you want to be close to. For example, an avid outdoors explorer will want to have rural terrain nearby. A family who eats out more than they eat in will want plenty of eateries to choose from. If you consider the type of person you are now, then your home’s location will cater to it.
Our final point focuses on any future changes coming down the pike. Are you planning on having children or are your children going to graduate upwards to a new school while at this house and, if so, all the schools they will attend should be nearby. What about job changes? Think about when you may change houses again and what this neighborhood’s value will do.
Save time and heartache by considering these neighborhood points before buying. With a little pre-planning, your home will be centered in a location that you love as much as the house!
Sources: HGTV.com, sterlingliving.com, forbes.com