Finding the right neighborhood for you and your family is not the easiest thing to do. Choosing the neighborhood is just as important as the house /apt you live in. Here are some things to consider before you choose your next home.
First you need to ask yourself, is “What are you Looking for In a Neighborhood”?
Do you want the city life or are you looking for a country setting?
Do you want to be within walking distance of store/shops and restaurants or are you fine with doing the drive?
Are you looking for a well established neighborhood or are you looking for a newer development?
Do you have children or pets that need to be taken into consideration, where parks/playgrounds, etc can be an important factor?
Are you looking for quiet or busy urban area?
Once you have answered these questions, you want to look at a map and see where you are looking to go and narrow down some suburbs/cities. Google maps is a good resource to get an aerial view of the neighborhoods you are looking at. Now figure out whether you will be purchasing or renting, and if you want to live in a house/townhouse, duplex, apartment/condo, etc. Here is a list of things to look at when you are finalizing choosing the right neighborhood for you.
It’s important to check the crime rates in your potential area. Is the neighborhood safe? Are the streets well-lit at night, are the streets well-kept? Is there graffiti or broken windows everywhere? It’s a good idea to drive around at night to make sure you feel safe. Also it’s a good idea to call your local police department and inspect firsthand what the percentage of robberies, muggings, etc that have occurred in the area. Are there police officers patrolling neighborhoods?
If you have children, you want to check out the schools in the area. You can call the school board and receive information like test scores, graduation %’s, how many students go onto college, etc. Check and see if the school has sports, after school activities, different committees that your children/teens can get involved in. Do buses run from your house to school if needed? For parks do they appear safe, clean, well kept? Do the park districts have activities and programs?
Find out how far your new location will be from the nearest hospital, (doctors offices, etc). Is there a local pharmacy? You can check the internet or doctors facility to see what hospital they work out of. Know the route to and from your home for emergency purposes. Is it a well established facility?
COST OF LIVING AND VALUE:
Find out what the average cost of living is in the neighborhood you are investigating. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce, they can usually provide information such as taxes, cost of living, things to do in the area, and information on businesses. They will most likely have a welcome packet of the area you are looking at. Check and see what the values of homes are, if property values have increased or decreased in last 5-7 years, and if there is a high % of people moving out of the area.
Does your neighborhood have close access to trains, buses, cabs? How far will it be to and from work if you drive? How is rush hour traffic if you have to travel distances? How far are airports if you travel from your area?
Are they walking or driving distance? Do they have parking, kid friendly places, etc?
OTHER AREAS TO INVESTIGATE:
Other things to consider before choosing your new home are, do the neighborhoods have sidewalks? If you like to exercise or have kids is this efficient to get your children around? Are there many dog walkers? Does your area have a local pool/homeowners/condo association? Are the neighborhoods well-kept? Are there a lot of bikes around/bike paths?
All of these areas are important when choosing the right neighborhood for you. The internet and your local Chamber of Commerce can provide you with much information. Make sure you do your homework so you pick the best place for you and your family.