How to Pick the Best Neighborhood for Your Lifestyle
Picking your new neighborhood is no decision to take lightly, but how can you be sure you’re picking the right area? When it comes to finding a neighborhood that perfectly fits your lifestyle, there are a few things to take into consideration.
MAKE A LIST OF WHAT MATTERS TO YOU
Are you looking for a neighborhood within walking distance to local eateries and shops? Do you want to live in an area where outdoor fitness is a possibility? Is the school district of top priority to your family? Make a list of your lifestyle “must-haves” so you can zone in on potential areas before looking more specifically at neighborhoods. Here are a few things to consider:
How far are you willing to commute? If your top concern is location based on workplace, take a look at neighborhoods in recommended areas near your office.
Do you have children? You’ll likely want to move somewhere that has community spaces, is zoned to a great school district and feels safe to you. If your current community is lacking something, be sure to look in areas that offer those accommodations.
What kind of home do you want? Are you interested in an apartment, townhome or single-family home? This, coupled with knowing if you want new construction or a historic home, will help your realtor point yo in the right direction
What do you not want in a neighborhood? If noise, traffic or lack of walkability are deal breakers for you, be sure you’re looking in areas where that isn’t a problem.
NARROW YOUR SEARCH TO A SPECIFIC AREA
Once you have a general idea of what area you want to live in, it’s time to start looking more closely at the specific neighborhoods and streets you may be interested in. If you’re moving to a new city, especially a large city, giving yourself a small area near work or school may be the easiest way to plan your move. Reaching out to friends and colleagues who may know someone in your new city may also be helpful, as they are likely familiar with the personalities of each area.
DIG UP VALUABLE INFORMATION
Once you know what area you may want to live in, you’ll want to check as many statistics as possible to see if it’s a good fit. While real estate agents can recommend things to do nearby, you’ll need to look at the data yourself to decide if the area is safe enough for you. Here are a few things to take a look at:
School information. Be sure to research the public and private schools nearby, as well as daycare programs.
Crime statistics. Most real estate sites have crime statistics based on zip code. It can be helpful to compare neighboring zip codes to be sure you’re moving to an area where you feel comfortable.
Neighborhood associations. Does your potential community have a neighborhood association? If it does, familiarize yourself with its restrictions and yearly fees if there are any.
VISIT THE NEIGHBORHOODS
This may be easier said than done if you’re an out-of-town buyer, but is still an important part to picking your new neighborhood! If you’re an in-town buyer, you can spread out the process of visiting the neighborhood over weeks or months. If you live out of town, you’ll want to make a list of the neighborhoods before visiting so your real estate agent can take you to see each of them.
Make note of your first impression. What is your gut feeling when first driving into the neighborhood? Is there curb appeal? Are the houses well-maintained? If you feel good when first visiting the neighborhood, chances are you’ll be more comfortable calling it home.
Visualize your daily routine. If you lived in this neighborhood, what would your daily routine look like?
Visit at different times of day. Should it be possible, try and visit the neighborhood at different times of the day. A neighborhood can have a completely different feel during the day and after the sun goes down.
Talk to other residents. If you run into neighbors on the street, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. If someone is welcoming and warm, you’ll feel right at home!
Picking a neighborhood takes time, thought and planning, but these tips will help you pick the best area for your lifestyle and needs. If you’ve made your decision are are set on a neighborhood, take a look at our blog post about how to settle into your new home!