The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Perfect Neighborhood To Live
Making the decision to move to a new neighborhood can be a little intimidating. What if you don’t fit into this new community? What if you end up missing your old amenities? What if the area just isn’t what you thought it would be? All these What Ifs are easily soothed by taking the time to figure out what neighborhood will be best suited for you.
In cities and towns all over the country, there’s always a diverse variety of neighborhoods to suit all lifestyles, age groups, and budgets. Finding the right one doesn’t have to be such a hassle! Whether you're choosing between ritzy Westover Hills or down-to-earth Tanglewood, Fort Worth, here are five tips to help you find the perfect neighborhood.
1. Do Your Research
Every neighborhood will offer different amenities, housing styles, rules and regulations, and commutes. You need to first determine what you want to prioritize and what you’re willing to compromise on. Maybe you’re okay with a longer commute to work if your home is situated near the top schools in the region. If you need your eight hours every night and hate late-night noise, you’ll want to avoid college areas or proximity to the local bar scene.
Think about what you dislike about your current community. Is there one thing that you wish your neighborhood offered? If you’ve always dreamed of living along a quiet ravine, zero your search in on that feature and go from there. If you can’t start your day without your morning Starbucks, research neighborhoods that have easy access to the coffee shop.
Once you have a list of features you’d like your neighborhood to include, present it to your real estate agent. Together, you’ll be able to find a community that includes some, if not all, of your top priority attributes.
2. Picture Your Ideal Housing Style
Some neighborhoods are made up of a certain type of housing development; rows of townhomes, condo buildings, or a collection of detached, single-family homes. Envision yourself living in one of these houses and determine what will best suit your lifestyle. Picture yourself in a variety of neighborhoods such as historic homes chock full of character or a contemporary, newly built development and decide what are your preferences.
Consider the accessibility and flexibility of each neighborhood. There are plenty of areas that are made up of homeowners associations, where you’ll need to adhere to specific rules and regulations. Do you like the idea of each homing following a guideline for lawn care and exterior decorating standards? If so, a community based around an HOA might be perfect for you!
What about the security of a gated community? These tend to be more expensive than open neighborhoods, but you benefit from the limitations of pedestrians wandering along your streets and the added security of that locked gate at night.
3. Open Up To All Possibilities
Don’t limit yourself when it comes to finding a new place to call home. Sometimes the best places can be found in the most unexpected areas and you’ll stumble across a hidden gem that you absolutely must have!
When you begin searching through the many property listings, it’s great to know what you want right away and look for that, but be open to touring an area even if it only checks three of your five boxes. You might surprise yourself and find that the style of house on the property is more important than the proximity to work.
Keeping yourself flexible and open to other options will be a great help to your real estate agent as well. There’s nothing worse than trying to please a picky customer who refuses to glance at anything other than the dream home they’ve been picturing.
4. Scope Out The Area
After you’ve narrowed down your search and you’ve found a neighborhood that you can really picture yourself in, you’ll want to take a deeper look. Visit the neighborhood at various times during the day to view it in a different light, literally, and to get a feel for traffic flow. Are the parks overly crowded in the afternoon? Is it impossible to get a seat at the local restaurants on the weekends? Do the streets jam up in the mornings when you’ll be trying to get to work?
You’ll also want to investigate the nearby amenities. If you enjoy walking or biking around town, you’ll want to find a spot close to your place of work, the local shops, grocery stores, and restaurants. Perhaps you’re moving to a new neighborhood within the same city. In that case, you have an added benefit of already knowing where your favorite amenities and attractions are and you can simply pinpoint which ones you want to be closest to.
5. Think Of The Children
Potential homeowners who either have children or plan to have children in the near future mark education fairly high on their lists. With some added research, you can sort out the boundaries of each school within a school district and find out which ones are rated highly. Don’t forget about daycare programs, either. You want the best of the best for your little ones!
Another feature to take into consideration is the nearby parks and recreation centers. Look into the maintenance of these areas, how popular they are, and if they’re suitable for your children’s age groups.
Crime statistics are fairly easy to access. Most real estate sites will have lists about crime rates that compare to national averages so that you can feel comfortable about moving to a new area.
With the help of these handy tips, finding the perfect neighborhood will be a breeze! No need to sweat over the dreaded What Ifs, take your time, do the research, and enjoy every moment of this exciting stage in your life!