Transferring due to work? Need more space for your growing family? Looking for more opportunities?
No matter your reason, moving into your new home can be a complicated process. You have to find a house that fits your needs and your budget. You need to apply for a loan and contact your moving team. And you must cram all your boxes into the moving truck.
In your rush to move quickly and efficiently, don’t become so focused on the house itself that you forget to check out the neighborhood. Even a dream home can feel less than ideal if nosy neighbors come knocking on your door.
Use the following tips to find the perfect neighborhood for you and your family.
1. Become a Detective
Besides examining every nook and cranny of your home for damage, you’ll want to take the time to investigate the crime rate in your area. While a neighborhood a few blocks over may offer you cheaper prices, a home located up the street might have a lower risk of break-ins.
Before you settle, ask a realtor about the crime statistics in your area. Or use one of the countless online sites that compare crime rates in your new neighborhood to the national average. If you wish, call the local police station and ask about specific problems you see.
2. Take a Walk on the Sidewalk
You might not think about it, but your sidewalk says a lot about your community. Well-kept sidewalks could indicate a safe area to live, and they could lead to fun parks and other amenities that your family may enjoy.
According to some city officials, sidewalks even coax residents out of their car, making them more likely to connect with their community. And sidewalks reduce the likelihood of pedestrian crashes.
On the other hand, broken cement and overgrown sidewalks could indicate a lack of care and respect for the community. And your children may be more likely to play in the streets.
3. Follow Your Nose
When you step outside your door, you want to be able to take in a deep breath of fresh air before you head to work.
However, not all neighborhoods smell like pine or daisies. If you pick your home based solely on an online listing, your nose may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Your new neighborhood may smell like fish, sewage, or other foul odors.
Many realtors and travel brochures don’t advertise unusual smells. So it’s up to you to take a big whiff of your neighborhood before signing that lease agreement.
4. Go Back to School
If you have children, good schools should be one of your top priorities. Schools affect the quality of your children’s future, and they give your children the opportunity to grow up in a safe, friendly environment. As you search for your perfect neighborhood, take the time to tour (with your children) the local school and see if it meets your needs.
Even if you don’t have children, you might want to consider a neighborhood with a good schooling system. Homes located in a good school district tend to hold onto their value. Many homeowners are willing to pay more per square foot for these homes should you decide to move again later.
5. Check Out the Local Amenities
Finding your ideal neighborhood is more than just statistics and appearances. If it doesn’t appeal to your style and preferences, even the most popular neighborhoods might drive you crazy. For example, if you want a hip urban redevelopment, you might not enjoy a quiet neighborhood full of retired seniors. If you like an active nightlife, you might not fit in with a sleepy country town.
As you get to know the area, also be on the lookout for amenities that appeal most to you. If you like to swim, stop by the local pool. Prefer to read? Drive on over to the library. Love sports? Peruse the local parks and stadiums to see if they live up to your standards.
Keep in mind that you might have to compromise on some of your favorite activities. If you prefer long nature walks near your home, you might have to sacrifice the convenience of driving five minutes to visit the nearest mall.
6. Read Reviews
Think you’ve finally found the right neighborhood for you? Then it’s time to gather second opinions about the area.
Read online reviews written by individuals who have lived in the area. They might confirm your opinions or they might bring up issues you didn’t previously consider. Perhaps someone may suggest an alternative area to live a few minutes away, or someone may give you tips on how to get to know your neighbors.