The process of buying and building a home can be incredibly exciting. Imagining you and your family living in a new, better space where you can all enjoy yourselves is motivation enough to work through all the challenges of finding and buying a house.
When you buy a home, you are buying more than just a building. You are purchasing a lifestyle. Where your home is located and the neighborhood that it is located will influence the lives of you and your family for as long as you live in that house. This makes choosing the right neighborhood an integral part of choosing the right home. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing your neighborhood.
It doesn't matter how fun and affordable a neighborhood may be, living in an unsafe neighborhood is not worth the risk. When choosing a neighborhood home, select a place that affords you the freedom to take an evening stroll without having to look over your shoulder. If you have young children, take a look to see if there are any major roads that may be difficult to cross. The peace of mind that your children are playing in a safe environment is priceless. Websites such as neighborhoodscout.com and mylocalcrime.com are credible resources to obtain statistics such as theft and violent crime rates.
Proximity to Local Resources
Many times the thought of choosing the immediate property is considered without much thought of the location of the neighborhood to local resources. These resources include schools, churches, shopping centers, hospitals, parks and other amenities your family uses daily. While it is important to be happy with your lot, choosing a neighborhood that the lot is contained in can be just as important. Most realty websites list the local amenities to the neighborhoods when searching online - this can be very useful if searching from out of town.
There's a reason good schools should be on everyone's list, and it isn't just about whether or not you plan to grow a family. A good school district will play a critical role in the value of your home. In addition to property value, often times good schools are indicative of involved neighborhoods. So even if you don't plan for a family, the school system is something to consider when thinking about the type of neighbors your hope for.
The majority of buyers with children will scroll down a home's listing page to check out the school rating before looking at the house any further. For smart buyers, there's just no sense in falling in love with a house in an undesirable district. This is because in addition to those with kids, even buyers without children know that home values skyrocket if a school produces higher test scores regularly.
Commute to Work
The last thing anyone wants after a long day of work is to sit in traffic another hour or more. This is why doing a test-run from your workplace to your potential neighborhood is a good idea. While a long commute time may be bearable if the neighborhood has everything you're looking for, a test drive can still prevent a surprise on the first day to work from your new home. The national average for work commute is around 25 minutes, so if it takes you longer than that to commute from your new neighborhood, you may want to consider other options.
Tax rates vary from town to town. Tax information and rates are available to the public. Also, information regarding specific properties assessed values is public knowledge. You can access this information by calling the local municipality or accessing their website.
Always keep in mind a great real estate agent should be able to find out what the current tax rates are. Additionally, they should be able to find out what the tax rate pattern has been over the past several years. A trend (increase or decrease) in the tax rate can effect monthly payments, so by having an idea what the rates have done over the past several years can possibly help predict what they will do in the future.
Cost of Living
The notion of getting what you pay for is definitely true when you’re choosing a neighborhood. While it’s important to select a safe and enjoyable place to buy or rent a home, it’s also important to consider your budget. Costs to consider in a neighborhood are things such as gas prices, tuition and affordable grocery and convenience stores. While many believe that the only factors to consider are home rental/purchase prices, we underestimate how much of our major spending is done in our immediate neighborhood.
Finding the right neighborhood to move to can be a catalyst for great things in your life. It offers opportunities to meet new people and enjoy amazing experiences. While no neighborhood is perfect, with the proper research and resources, finding the perfect neighborhood for you is definitely within reach.