Selecting the Right Neighborhood
Choosing the right neighborhood is just as important as picking the right home. Perhaps it is even more important. After all, you may be able to renovate a kitchen, but you can't move a nearby bus stop, or make a playground magically appear within walking distance. The neighborhood you choose to live in has a huge affect on your lifestyle and that of your family. So it's important to take as much time shopping for a great location as it is a new home.
Take a Walk
Once you have toured a house that interests you, take a walk. Explore the neighborhood. Get a sense of the atmosphere, community and personality of the surrounding area. Is the street relatively quiet? Or, is it a main throughway for commuters into and out of the neighborhood? Stop and listen. Is there a lot of ambient noise from traffic or other sources? What about local amenities? Find out about parks, playgrounds, community centers, and shopping. These can be very convenient if located nearby. Do you have kids? Then you'll also want to learn about the local schools. Are they within walking distance? If busing is required, where do your kids meet the bus?
If you see any neighbors while exploring the area, chat with them. You could simply say, "Hello. We're considering buying a home in this area. May we ask you a couple of quick questions about your experience living here?" You'll spend as much time in your neighborhood as you do inside your home. So get to know it, before you decide to make an offer
Location! Location! Location!
When shopping for a home, you’ll find many advertisements and flyers touting that a listed home is in a “Great Location”. But great for whom? Before accepting the claim as fact, decide for yourself. What is so appealing about that particular location? For example, you might find the neighborhood ideal for families because there are lots of kids in that area. But on the other hand, if you’re looking for a quieter place to live, a street filled with skateboarders might not be such a “Great Location”—for you.
Hobbies and Hangouts
Imagine that you're looking for your next home. You drive into a neighborhood, and it looks beautiful. There are plenty of trees, well-kept homes, and parks nearby. What more could you ask for? In addition to the usual characteristics of an ideal neighborhood, it's important to make sure it also fits your unique lifestyle – and that of your family. For example, is the area reasonably close to upscale restaurants where you and your spouse can enjoy dinner? Or, is there an indoor recreational center where your daughter can continue her swimming lessons? Or a golf club where you can refine your swing? The closer a neighborhood is to hobbies and hangouts, the more ideal it will truly be.