Five Things to Look for When Choosing the Perfect Neighborhood
With the days getting longer and temperatures heating up, we can feel the season of the house-hunt upon us. It’s a good time of year. A time when people everywhere pull out their foldable city paper maps, lay them out on the table, and gather round to see where they’d like to live.
Wait, no. That is a very analogue approach to house-hunting, and we’re quite sure no one still does it that way, unless they were cryogenically frozen during the 1980s, thawed in the present, and given no guidance or direction about the state of technology and how a proper house-hunt is now conducted.
With a real estate agent, the Internet, and your car.
A car? You ask. Well, to find the perfect neighborhood for you, you’ll definitely want to go there at some point. We put together a list of factors to check before you sign on the many dotted lines it will require to finalize your new home purchase. Read on, house-hunter, read on!
Location Reigns Supreme
Obviously, top on our list of the perfect neighborhood is the big one: Where is it at? This is related to where your life is generally located. How far is the neighborhood from where you work? Will the commute be unreasonably long? You may not want to spend two hours a day in the car in traffic or otherwise getting back and forth to bring home the proverbial bacon.
Speaking of bacon, another question to consider is the neighborhood’s relative distance from amenities like grocery stores, restaurants, and gyms. Do you like to go out on the weekends to social hotspots that are centralized in the main downtown area of the nearest big city? Will your new digs become the kiss of death for your social life? Make sure the area you concentrate your search in is ideally suited for you.
Amazing Neighbors or Neighbors You Can Tolerate
Another big one, the actual neighborhood and the people that populate the homes. Forget the adage about not judging books by covers, and judge your potential neighborhood by its appearance. Are the houses maintained and updated? If it’s summer, do people take care of their yards?
To get a feel for how vibrant an area is, you’ll have to spend some time stalking the neighborhood at different times of day. You’ll gain some valuable insight about how loud the neighbors are and how busy it is during the morning and evening rush. If you have small children, a lot of traffic might not be ideal for you. So consider these factors as you gather the intel, parked on the street, checking the area out. Be careful to not look too suspicious!
Sweet Schools for Your Sweet Kids
This may not impact every house-hunter, but if you have kids now or the plan is to ever start a family, the school district is something to consider. Some neighborhoods feed into out-of-the-way school locations, and buses are the primary way for kids to get there, which may not be something you want in your perfect ‘hood. Being able to stay within certain boundaries might be your number-one priority. Whatever you’re looking for, deciding early on is a great idea.
Parks Are the Soul of the Neighborhood
Big one here, especially if you have children. Not to rule out those who just like to picnic a lot at the park or start up a rousing game of cornhole or croquet with other neighborhood locals. Are the parks within walking distance, and what’s their general condition? Not every park is created equal, though that will depend on your expectations and what you want from a local park. Grills? Pavilions? Lots of swings, slides, and monkey bars for kids or a lake with resident ducks and geese?
We Really Meant Dog Parks Are the Soul of the Neighborhood
OK, so you don’t have kids and never will because you have a dog (or you have both? Why not?). No problem, we know that happens and we thought of you. How far away are the dog parks? Are there even any dog parks nearby? Better yet, is there a dog beach within walking distance from the neighborhood?
While we’re on the subject of our canine friends, if you’re buying into a place with an HOA, what are their rules for dogs? Before you get very far into falling for a home and its neighborhood, this is a topic you’ll want to think about so that you can rule out any neighborhoods where dogs aren’t welcome.
As with any list, while this one may be awesome, it’s certainly not comprehensive. Consider what’s most important to you and narrow your search down. As you read through our list, if it helped you to remember another aspect of what your perfect neighborhood contains, then mission accomplished. We did it!