Choosing the Next Neighborhood

Choosing a new neighborhood

One of the hardest goodbyes when buying a new home is leaving the wonderful people behind that you call neighbors. Neighbor relationships are an undeniable bond between home owners that add that extra level of safety and protection over your property. It’s the inevitable connection you feel when you come home to an unexpectedly mowed lawn or a shoveled driveway. Leaving your safety net of neighbors behind can be difficult when you have lived in your home for many years. Chances are your children have grown up together or you have watched one another go through one of life’s many milestones. From proudly buying the new car in your driveway to bringing home a newborn baby from the hospital; your neighbors noticed.

You may be nervous to make the move simply because of the support of your neighbors, but don’t let that stop you from finding those genuine friendships within a new community. Finding the right home is essential, but make sure you know the neighborhood that will be welcoming you into that new home. Perhaps they’re a close knit group or maybe they go on about their lives separately. Regardless, there are key indicators that will help you decipher the qualities of the neighborhood. What you as a homeowner value within a community will be the deciding factor in officially signing those homeowner documents. There are several important indicators that should be considered when looking for a new neighborhood to call home.


What to consider…

 

Safety

Knowing you’re safe when you step foot outside your home can make the world of a difference in your day-to-day lifestyle. An ideal community would relieve parents of their worry when their children are outside playing with the neighborhood kids.

An easy way to check the safety of the surrounding community is none other than a simple Google search. All it takes is typing in the name of the town followed by “crime rate” to find crime statistics. Be cautious when looking at crime rates and research when a statistic is incredibly high or low. Data can sometimes be skewed so be mindful in looking at the captions and details of graphs to fully understand the statistic.

 

School Systems

Another priority of parents is the quality of the school district they will be sending their kids to. The most direct way to get information is by calling or emailing the school district. More often than not they will be glad to provide you with valuable information about their schools. After confirming the safety and quality of the district or school your child will be attending, don't hesitate to schedule a school visit. This will give you the reassurance you need to make the move into your new community.

Even if your move was across town, talking to parents at the new school will give you insight about the teachers and staff in the building. This will better prepare you as the parent of a new child in the school.

 

Local businesses

Homeowners value local businesses to varying degrees. Successful local businesses are a key indicator of the community’s values. Thriving local businesses signal a close community that deeply values the state of the town and it's constituents. Those who support these local businesses take pride in their neighbors and the goods or services they are providing the community. You may also take into consideration the proximity of these businesses when deciding your compatibility with the neigborhood.

 

Convenience

Local business convenience is not the only location factor that will affect your time. Roadway convenience ranges from how long it takes to drive to work, school, medical establishments, to visit your family and every other place you deem a priority in your daily life. Knowing you are minutes away from the local convenience store can save you time in the long run versus having to drive many miles to pick up a pack of paper towels. Those who have the privilege of riding their bikes to the ice cream shop might not want to lose that privilege by moving to a new neighborhood. It is the activities you value most that you should take into consideration when contemplating the convenience of your new home's physical location. If perhaps you don't mind making the long haul to certain establishments, take that into consideration as well.

 

Taxes

To state the obvious, property taxes vary for every home in every community. This calculator is an awesome tool to get the property tax on the house you are buying. Simply enter the location and type in the home's value. This tool does the rest for you by providing the county's average tax rate along with the property tax value. Neighborhoods can directly affect your property tax. 

Stay up to date on what has happened in the community if you are completely new to the neighborhood. Do your research on the surrounding area to find out how your property tax may be affected in the form of upcoming levies, special neighborhood improvements, local referendums and the city budget.

 

Development

Something people often don’t take into consideration is the potential for development in their new neighborhood. Development affects the resale value of your home by either boosting or hindering it’s value. If a large strip mall establishment is built right next to your house it could push people away from wanting a home on a busy street, thus decreasing the home’s value. However, if a new park is built in your neighborhood families could be heavily drawn to your home more than others. This would in turn boost the resale value. Looking at development a few years down the road is a great idea for homeowners planning to stay in their new home for many years to come.


How to gain the final reassurance you need...

 

Walk around the neighborhood

There is no better way to get a feel for a neighborhood than walking around. By taking a walk you could discover new sections of the neighborhood you had never ventured to before. Pay attention to the people around you and how they react to a complete stranger walking down the sidewalk. If they go out of their way to speak to you they genuinely care about the safety of the community. If you get multiple waves from cars passing by chances are it’s a close knit, friendly neighborhood. Other important indicators are children outside playing and joggers outside exercising. Take your values into consideration and put them to the test by walking through the neighborhood you could potentially call home.

 

Utilize your agent’s expertise

A real estate agent’s responsibility is to inform you about every aspect of the home you are moving into to ensure a smooth transition. This includes knowing about the community around you. Chances are you are not the first client moving into this neighborhood if the agent most often sells residential properties in the area. Utilize their expertise to gain secondary knowledge about the community surrounding the home.

 

Don’t settle

Last but not least, don’t ever settle. Finding a good home in a bad neighborhood can hinder your general attitude toward the house. At the end of the day you want to know that you can be both inside and outside of your home without disappointment or fear of your neighbors and community. Safety is highly valued for most new home owners, but all of the above considerations can negatively impact your experience living in that home to the same degree.