The neighborhood is just as important as the house. Think of it like finding your perfect mate and the neighborhood is his/her closest friends and family. It helps to enjoy both, right? Here are few things to consider when looking into a new neighborhood.
Know what you want
You can find the most amazing house in any neighborhood. The only thing that matters is that you know yourself well enough to know what you really want when you start your search. Start asking yourself the hard questions after you have been pre-approved. Make a list of you must-haves and then move a few of those to the nice-to-have column.
Parks, Children & Community
If you have children the first question you will ask is about the school. Is it the district you want? The next thought is whether or not there is a park close by. Is it walking distance or driving? Lastly, some neighborhoods are communities within communities; grocery stores, coffee shops and other places to get to know your neighbors, is this important to you?
Our commute is important. While some people enjoy a longer drive from home to work, ask yourself if you are happier in the car or enjoying more at-home time.
In addition to your home inspection report, do a little research on the neighborhood. Have the neighbors had issues with water in their basements, or old pipe. While these things should be disclosed, there is a chance they are unaware, but if your new neighbors have had issues, you might as well.
You’ll also want to research crime reports. You can do an online search, or call the local police department.
When you first look at the house, don’t focus too much on the house, while important, you may miss other clues. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? All of these senses are our main source of information, so use them to your advantage. If the wind blows from a certain direction, what do you smell? Do you hear children playing or is the sound of the highway more prominent? Drive around the block and look at the other homes, what do you see?
Visit Multiple times
You will get a much better sense of the neighborhood if you visit at different times of the day and week. What is the neighborhood like at night? Is it well lit? Are people outside talking with each other, grilling and watching the kids play or do they all stay inside their homes or backyards? What’s the parking like? Do the neighbors have multiple cars and your potential new street is now a parking lot?