Location, location, location. Half of buying a home is finding where you want to live. You may have found your dream house, but it might not be in your dream location.
Here's how you can find the perfect neighborhood:
1. Check It Out Online
Look up what people are saying about the neighborhood you're interested in. Do people actually enjoy living there? What do they like and dislike about it? Google the crime statistics for the area; safety should be top of mind. If you have kids, look up schools in the area. How are they rated? Social media platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor also offer a great window into the ins and outs of your potential neighborhood.
2. Scout It Out.
Literally, do drive-throughs, and do them at different times of the day to get a feel for the neighborhood. Is there a soccer field or baseball diamond close by? You'll want to know before it's too late whether cars will be lined up on your street every weekend. What's that nearby intersection like during rush hour? Is there a grocery store close by? The more questions you can answer before moving in, the more confident you’ll feel when it’s time to put down an offer.
3. How Far Is Your Potential Home From Your Job?
A long commute has the potential to become an everyday stressor. If you take the bus, look up the route and times. If you drive, check out the route during your normal commute times on Google Maps.
4. Do Your Research on Property Taxes
Property taxes greatly differ from one region to the next and could majorly impact your cost of living. Do your due diligence and make sure you can afford the area you want to live in. Check out other costs of living while your at it—think utilities and food prices.
5. Getting Schooled on Schools
As you search for a new home, have schools factored into your decision? If you have children—no matter their age—or if you’re just considering children in the next few years, thinking about schools now may save you from trouble down the road. Even if you don't have children, choosing a home with schools in mind can only help your investment. Keep in mind, there is no best school for everyone. Different children learn better in different environments. There are many options—from public and private to charter, or even a public magnet school.
6. Do a Market Education Day with an Expert
One of the services I provide is what I call Market Education Day. I take my clients out and show them 8 -12 homes that are in their price point, and that will meet their criteria. I teach them about different neighborhoods and point out the positives and negatives in each house. I learn more about what's important to my client, and what they may need to compromise on. By the end of the day we'll know exactly what and where to focus our search and save my clients countless hours of combing through listings on the internet and randomly driving around town.
Whether you're ready to buy now or a year from now, it's most effective to get you on the right track with an expert who is familiar with your family's goals, lifestyle and the local neighborhoods. I am here to help. Please call or email if you have any questions. In the meantime, happy home searching!