The neighborhood that your new home is located in will be the place where you have to live every single day. That makes choosing a good location almost as important as the actual amenities of the house itself.
Your home is more than just a house, it exists in a community that you are going to have to live in. You’ll see the people that live around you pretty often, you’ll look out the window at the view every morning, and the area can also affect the financial viability of your investment over time. That’s why it is important to use caution, logic, and research when choosing the area that you will be living in.
1. Decide On Your Goals
You need to figure out what you want, both for your life, and for the home that you will be purchasing. If you plan on staying in that house for a long time then you have to be comfortable in the neighborhood. Make sure that you find it attractive, and that the people seem nice, friendly, and open. If possible get a sense of the community, drive around at different times of the days.
If you are planning to raise children then you have to also have to look into the local school system. It can be more expensive to live in an area with top-notch schools, but there is no better investment in the future than getting your child or children a quality education. The best schools will be able to boast awards, both for their students and the teachers and staff working there.
Safety is also going to be at the top of your list, especially if you have a family. Certain communities are more prone to crime than others. At the same time there are some areas that just inherently feel safe. You can get statistics of crime reports that will tell you exactly what the safest places are.
2. Evaluate The Value
If you are looking to buy a house and then sell it quickly, or use it temporarily before moving on, then there are different issues to consider. Instead you should look at the resale value of the property, and of others in the area. Finding out how much the building was worth 5 or 10 years ago will give you a pretty good idea of how much you will be able to get for it a few years later. You also want to choose somewhere that is popular so it will be easy to find a buyer or tenant when the time arrives.
Even if you don’t plan to stay in the area for a long time, you may still want to buy in a popular area where grocery stores, parks, and schools are close by. Are you interested in exercising? Consider selecting a home near a community trail or gym. Do you live for nightlife excitement? A place near the heart of the city may be just what you have been looking for.
3. Availability Of Transportation
Many people are so interested in the house and the neighborhood when looking to buy a new home that they lose sight of the big picture. You’re still going to have to get in your car and drive to work each day. A further commute means more time lost and more gas wasted. Even just 15 minutes can add up over time, eating into your personal life and your savings. On the other hand, moving closer to work makes you more accessible to your job and reduces transportation costs.
You should also consider your relative position to other important landmarks. If the majority of your friends live on the other side of town than that can hurt your social life. The same is true of favorite restaurants, sports parks, and entertainment venues.
Proximity to public transportation is also important. You may not always want to drive, and the ability to hop on a bus or train and get where you need to go can free you up to work on other projects while also reducing your carbon footprint. The ideal situation is to have at least one or two options within short walking distance from where you’ll be living.
4. Do Your Research
There are a number of ways that you can research a particular location before moving in. The easiest way is simply to walk around and experience the area for yourself. Striding through the streets on a couple of short walks will give you a ground level view of how the people in the area interact with one another. If you feel safe you may even want to take one or two evening strolls to gauge how the area really feels to you.
You can also make an effort to try and meet some of the people who live there. Say hi to a stranger on the street, or engage someone in a sports bar or coffee shop in some conversation. Your realtor should also be highly informed about the neighborhoods you are considering, so ask them your questions and lean on their years of experience to help guide your decision.
5. Separate Your Emotions From Your Logic
The process of choosing a place to live can be emotionally charged. However it is important to keep your feelings in check so that you can make the best possible decision. Create a list of all of the things that are important to you and then rate the area based on each of them. You should also try to get feedback from as many people as possible so that you can crowdsource your decision for a more fair and balanced effect. Your family and friends know you well, and will be able to help you think through your decision in an unbiased and well-rounded way.