Location, location, location is the old adage told by so many real estate agents. And most of the time it makes sense, but not everyone’s idea of the perfect location is the same. So what makes a great neighborhood. Here are some things you should consider as you search for the perfect place to find your perfect home.
Pride in ownership
As you peruse various neighborhoods, pride in ownership should be something you are on the lookout for in a viable neighborhood. Even if homes are older and potentially less attractive than in a more upscale, up-and-coming neighborhood, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered. Check to see that people take care of their homes and yards. Is the paint peeling? Are the yards manicured? Are street corners and public areas cared for? Basically, it comes down to, does it appear that people care about their homes and their neighborhood?
Checking the crime rates should be something that you do right away if you are interested in an area. Be sure to check what kinds of crimes have occurred and how often. Also, keep an eye out for neighborhood watch signs that demonstrate a neighborhood that is conscientious about helping one another and keeping crime to a minimum.
It is obviously idyllic if you are in an area with accomplished and safe schools for your children to attend. Getting kids into schools that aren’t in your zip code can be much more difficult than one thinks so living in that area makes things easier. Unfortunately, some of the best and safest schools are in areas that are often the least affordable. The good news is, some schools don’t get the credit they deserve for having accomplished and caring teachers as well as diverse populations that give children an open-minded perspective on the world. Go check out a school or two in the neighborhoods you like, find out person-to-person what the culture is like; you might be surprised!
It can be a good idea to take a cruise through different neighborhoods at night. You will be able to see if it is a neighborly, walking area where families and dogs enjoy a relaxing stroll. Is it completely quiet and everyone sticks to themselves which might be just what you are looking for? Maybe it is full of party-goers and nightlife which might be perfect for you. It could also be that a more unsavory population takes over the neighborhood at night because of various amenities. Find out what you are getting into by driving through early in the evening and late at night.
Even if you have the best and most beautiful backyard, it is nice to have some green space in the area to escape to once in a while. Check out the parks available in the neighborhoods that you like. See if there is a dog park where you can let your beast run wild. Pay attention to how well it is maintained and whether it appears the equipment is properly cared for and safe.
If you want a neighborhood that is close to restaurants, you may have to sacrifice the serenity of a quiet area. Where there are restaurants there are likely bars. There may be more noise and traffic in the evenings, but that may be worth it if you don’t enjoy cooking and you want the benefit of walking to restaurants in the evening. Try to take in an event or meal in the area you are considering. This will give you the proof you need to look there or choose elsewhere.
Having a grocery store within a mile or two of your home is a life-saver for most people. Many people find that it becomes an inconvenience when a trip to the grocery store constitutes a 15+ minute drive along with time for shopping. So, when you are considering an area, find out where the closest neighborhood and large chain groceries are located and how long it takes to get to both.
If you are a bookworm like me, a library in close proximity may be an important amenity. Libraries also offer a lot of neighborhood activities and resources that can be very helpful for families, so do your due diligence and see where the closest library is located.
Check out the values of homes in neighborhoods you find attractive or that have potential. Find out how much they have increased in value. Ask your realtor to help you find pertinent information to make sure you aren’t buying a home that won’t yield a good return on investment. Your realtor can also give you information on neighborhoods that you haven’t been able to ascertain. They can do some additional research for you and find answers to many of your questions.
The bottom-line is that a neighborhood’s location, amenities, and therefore attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder. Spend time getting to know the neighborhoods where you can see yourself living. Make a list of what you would like to have in a neighborhood, what you’re willing to sacrifice, and then go find the areas that check those boxes–that is YOUR location, location, location.