What to Look for in a Neighborhood When Buying a House
Evaluating a potential new home’s features is just one part of finding the perfect place to buy. You should also carefully consider the neighborhood that you will be living in to decide if it fits your needs. Here are a few things to look for when taking a stroll through your potential new neighborhood.
Crime Rates and Safety
Some of the biggest factors in determining a home’s value and neighborhood’s desirability are the crime rates and overall safety of people who live there. Your Realtor will be able to provide you with statistics and information about potential new neighborhoods. You can also search online using tools like local and state government statistics, the FBI’s annual crime statistics report, and the National Sex Offender Registry. Taking a drive through a neighborhood can also give you a good idea of if there is a civic league or neighborhood watch, how close the houses are in case there is an emergency, and how close the neighborhood is to emergency services.
Does it Match Your Lifestyle?
If you are a family with young kids, you probably want to search for a neighborhood that is family-friendly. This means plenty of outdoor space, access to parks, sidewalks, and playgrounds, and other families with children that your kids can play with as they grow. For empty nesters, these lifestyle features are not as important as access to nice restaurants and culture in a quiet, established community. Whatever your interests, look for a neighborhood that will allow you to enjoy them.
Do not discount the importance of school ratings, even if you do not have children. Living in a good school district can greatly increase the value of your new home and make it easier to sell if you decide to move again in the future.
Lot size can also be a big deal for many homebuyers. Do you prefer large lots with plenty of land? Or are you looking for the lower upkeep of an urban townhouse? Think about the kind of life (and time you have to spend on mowing and other upkeep) that you want to have in your new home and neighborhood.
Getting Around the Neighborhood
Walkability is a desirable feature for many people when they consider new neighborhoods. Sidewalks, trails, and community space such as parks all encourage residents to get out in the fresh air and enjoy their neighborhood. If you commute to work, you may want to prioritize access to major roads or public transportation as well.
Easy access to restaurants, shops, and services like dentists and salons are also desirable for many homebuyers. If you enjoy spending time in your community, it will make living there very enjoyable. Having features like these within or close to the neighborhood can also create a strong community bond.
Know Your Budget
Every homebuyer has a long list of features that make up their perfect home and neighborhood. But many of these increase home prices and can quickly mean that a highly desirable neighborhood or luxury home is out of their budget. Prioritize which things are the most important. Finding the right neighborhood should be near the top of your list. You can almost always save up and make improvements to your new home over time, but you can’t change the neighborhood that it is in.