Are you moving to a new city in the near future? When you’re relocating to an area that you don’t know well, it can be tough to narrow down a neighborhood. You want to choose a region that’s a good fit for you and your family and that will help your home hold its value or even appreciate.
There is no single neighborhood that will suit every family, which means that you have to be honest about what is most important to you. Start by making a list of your top priorities:
- For some buyers, their top priorities all have to do with the house or property itself, such as a certain number of bedrooms or a fenced-in backyard for the dog.
- For other buyers, there are characteristics of the neighborhood that are more important, such as having restaurants within walking distance or having a 15-minute or shorter commute to work.
Unless you have an unlimited budget, you’ll most likely have to make some sort of compromise for the move.
Equipped with your list of priorities, you can start researching potential neighborhoods. As you research, take the following aspects into consideration:
If you have children or are planning to start a family, schools will be a high priority. Even if you don’t have kids, remember that most homes in good school districts hold their value better than homes in less regarded districts. If you’re planning to send your kids to private school, pay attention to tuition costs, enrollment fees and uniform expenses for the private schools in the area.
How will you be getting to and from work? Is it important that you have access to public transportation? Be upfront about how much time you want to spend commuting for your job and whether you can afford a long commute.
Think about the places that you frequent each week: grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, gyms and many other facilities may be on this list.
Some people want to be within walking distance of most of their amenities while other people don’t mind a drive into a neighboring town. Yelp and Angie’s List are two great places to find reviews for local businesses.
The best way to assess the livability of a neighborhood is to visit it for yourself. Whenever possible, check out the area on a weekday and on a weekend, visiting at different times. Inspect the homes to see if their level of maintenance meets your standards. Talk to local residents about the community, and try driving your commute during the times that you’ll be going to and from work.
Finding the right neighborhood is not something that will happen in a matter of hours. However, it’s well worth the effort to find a place where you look forward to coming home every night.