When house-hunting, keep in mind that you’re not just moving into a new home – you’re also moving into a new neighborhood. Your immediate surroundings will play a large role in your safety, convenience, and enjoyment.
Here are some tips for scouting neighborhoods:
Look into the future
When scouting a neighborhood, it makes sense to take your present circumstances into consideration, such as the size of your family, career, and lifestyle. But it also helps to think of your long-term plans and how the neighborhood will be able to accommodate them.
Ask yourself if you plan to have more children, whether or not you’ll switch jobs, or if you want to adopt pets in the future.
Start your search close to work
Try scouting neighborhoods close to your workplace first, especially if you want to live in the city. Don’t underestimate the effect that commute and traffic will have on your daily life. You can use tools like Goggle Maps to get an idea of what the commute is like during rush hour.
Take stock of home sales and foreclosures
All neighborhoods have their fair share of homes for sale and foreclosed properties. However if a neighborhood has more than the usual number of homes that are up for sale or foreclosure, take it as a sign that something’s amiss – more so if these homes tend to be on the same street or block.
Even if it has nothing to do with the quality of life in the neighborhood, it can diminish property values. It’s worth investigating, so ask around to figure out why residents aren’t staying put.
Look for amenities and group activities
Check out the sports clubs, facilities, restaurants, and shopping options in and around the neighborhood. This will help you determine if you’ll have all the amenities you need. This is also crucial if you have kids, since kids will always look for something to do.
Tour the schools to see if they’re up to your standards, and if your children will flourish in the environment. Schools are also a reliable indicator of a neighborhood’s real estate value. The more prestigious the school system, the higher property values tend to be. Real estate values also stay more stable when there are good schools around.
Visit the Higgins Group website for some home buying tips.