The old adage of “location, location, location” still holds true and the desirability of your neighborhood will have a great impact on the price you get if and when you decide to sell your home.
Choosing a Neighborhood
Finding the right neighborhood to live in is just as important if not more important than finding the right type of home. People want a neighborhood that is welcoming, where they feel safe and at home.
If you are considering moving to a certain neighborhood and have not spent much time there, try to get a feel for it by taking a walking tour or driving around. Take note of the state of upkeep of the properties. Well maintained properties indicate pride of ownership which supports property values in the area. If there are vacant lots, try to find out if there are commercial plans and if so, what type, or if the lot is being used as a dump.
If you feel safe walking around the neighborhood, this is a good sign. But you should also inquire at the local police department about crime levels and what types of crime are committed in the neighborhood. Keep an eye out for graffiti, since it may be a sign of gang activity. Try to spend time in the neighborhood at different times of the day and night to get a sense of noise levels and general atmosphere.
Try to find out about any future developments planned for the neighborhood. New development can mean higher property values down the road, but also more noise and congestion. Much of this information can be found in the local news.
For many people, the social aspect of their neighborhood is very important. Living close to family and friends can be a very important consideration. As you walk around the neighborhood, observe the people. Ask yourself if they seem like the kind of people you would want to have as neighbors.
If you have children, you will want to pay close attention to the quality of schools in the area. You can find out how much is spent per child and average test scores from the local schools.
Try to figure out how long your commute to work will take from the neighborhood. This is more important than how far your neighborhood is from work. If you prefer to walk, bike or take public transit, make sure that this is feasible from your neighborhood.
You should also research the amenities. If you enjoy green space, water recreation and sports, you will want to know what sports facilities, parks and natural features are in the area.
Find out what the shopping is like in the neighborhood. Pay special attention to the type and proximity of grocery stores and other food vendors. If being close to shopping is important to you, note what the nearby commercial strips or malls are like. For many people, being close to certain religious, ethnic or cultural institutions is very important.
And if you like to eat out a lot, or go to bars or clubs, you should find out what the options are in your neighborhood as well. If you enjoy going to movies, theater, live concerts or art exhibits, the proximity of these amenities may also be a consideration.
Find out selling prices for different homes in the neighborhood and how the prices have changed over the past 10 years. Also find out about property taxes and utility rates to consider if they seem realistic for your budget.
Most of the information you will want when choosing a neighborhood to live in can be gleaned from talking to a real estate agent who specializes in the neighborhood you are interested in. It is part of an agent’s job to know every aspect of a given neighborhood thoroughly and help you get the information you are looking for.
Location is a crucial aspect of real estate, but there is no such thing as one ideal location. Every individual has their own preferences, needs and wants when it comes to selecting a neighborhood to live in. Just remember that the old adage of “location, location, location” still holds true and the desirability of your neighborhood will have a great impact on the price you get if and when you decide to sell your home.