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Before You Buy… How to Make Sure Your New Neighborhood is a Perfect Fit


Before You Buy… How to Make Sure Your New Neighborhood is a Perfect Fit

As if finding your dream home, making an offer, having it accepted and going through the closing process was not hard enough, have you stopped to consider the area surrounding your “perfect” home? Of course, it is in the home where you will be spending the bulk of your time, but it is the neighbors, schools, transportation options and other amenities that will play a major role in how happy you are in that home.

So, how do you find the perfect match between your dream home and that utopian neighborhood you’ve always dreamed of? To find that oh-so-perfect neighborhood, here are some things to do during your home search:

Bring Back the List

Remember that list of “must haves” and “would likes” that you made to find the perfect home? Consider making a similar list to find your perfect neighborhood. Think; is there is something in particular that you like or dislike about your current neighborhood?

Maybe you currently love your outgoing neighbors and the fact that children are constantly playing on the sidewalks; but, maybe you don’t. Do you currently enjoy living in a charming, historical neighborhood, a bustling apartment, condominium or townhome community or even in a new development?

Consider what factors are important to you in a neighborhood and look for a home that is in a similar atmosphere.

Think Long Term

Maybe you’ve just gotten married and you’re in the honeymooning phase; but, are you planning to have children in the near future? Maybe you’re busy working that 9-5 (or 6 or 7) right now; but, is retirement time coming soon? Maybe your potential neighborhood is ideal right now; but, does the city have other plans for your neighborhood’s future development? Make sure that you’re looking for a neighborhood that will make you happy for the long haul.

As you’re considering your long-term happiness in a neighborhood, take specific notice of any “for rent,” “for sale” or “foreclosure” signs that may be in your potential new neighborhood. If the area seems transient, there could be good reason to be cautious about a neighborhood. 

Take (Some) Advice

While you’re on the hunt for a new home or neighborhood, you will find a lot of people who want to throw in their two cents; and, that is fine. But, take all advice with a grain of salt. Perhaps, pay specific attention to the advice of those friends and family members who are in similar life situations to yours. It is likely that your tastes in neighborhood features may be similar.

Many people will also want to offer their infinite wisdom on neighborhood statistics, crime rates or school districts. Particularly with this information, verify it with official records or local officials before believing what you hear.

Be Social

After you hear all about what your friends and family think about a particular neighborhood, do some legwork and find out about it for yourself. Visit the neighborhood at various times of the day to see what kind of action takes place there. Take a walk down the sidewalks and talk to the people there. Find out what they like or dislike about living in the neighborhood. Truly, take in the sights, sounds and smells of the neighborhood.

When you’re looking at a potential neighborhood, you should also consider spending some time in the area. Check out the local restaurants, shopping, parks, hospitals or other features that may be of interest to you. After all, if you intend to move into your dream home in a particular area, those places will be your immediate options. It may even be a good idea to drive your potential morning or afternoon commute a few times to make sure you know what to expect.

Social media is also an excellent place to go to scope out a potential neighborhood. Like so many of us, many neighborhoods have their own social media accounts, where community members are more than willing to spout out their views on local issues. You may also get a good feel for a community by attending school board or local council meetings.

Calculate the Cost of Your Happiness

Last, but certainly not of least importance in your neighborhood search is cost. Does your dream neighborhood come at a price you’re willing to pay? Are there home owner’s association fees to build or live in a specific neighborhood? If so, find out what those fees are and what things they may cover.

Some neighborhoods may also have rules about what kind of fence you can put in or what other changes you can make to your home. Before you make a move on a new home, find out if the possible fees and community rules are something that you can deal with.

Though your realtor should clue you in on the estimated taxes for your new dream home, make sure to inquire about the neighborhood tax rate. Yes, taxes may be included in your mortgage, but you want to make sure you know how much you’ll be paying up front.

When it comes down to finding your perfect home in an equally perfect neighborhood, being as informed as possible is always your best bet. To learn more about a potential home or neighborhood that may be perfect for you, talk with an experienced Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty agent today.