Most people focus on finding a home that ticks everything on their wish list. While finding a home to buy or rent with everything you dream of is important, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of finding the perfect neighborhood. You can renovate or fix your home, but you can’t change its location, neighborhood character, and many other things. My family is fortunate to have found a neighborhood that has a sense of community, lots of entertainment options, and good schools.
Finding the perfect neighborhood requires that you research extensively. You should narrow down to specific items that are important to you, your family, and your general lifestyle. Whether you are downsizing or upsizing, prioritize the must-haves before the nice-to-haves. Consider the following tips to find a perfect neighborhood.
1. Consider renting before buying
While you can find a good neighborhood from your intuition, consulting local residents, and leveraging real estate tools like Zillow, you can’t be 100% sure of your pick. Renting in the area first before buying makes a lot of sense, because you get a true feel for the vibe.
You can take up a single lease, which lasts six months or one year, to determine if the neighborhood is perfect enough for a long-haul stay. Besides allowing you to evaluate the neighborhood, you’ll also make better purchase decisions by renting first.
Even though virtual tours and real estate databases simplify house shopping, they can’t replace the ability to inspect the home and neighborhood. Trying to buy a home while handling the moving process and other issues associated with moving is also overwhelming. However, with your rented home as the base, you can channel your time and resources into searching for a good home.
2. Neighborhood safety
Neighborhood safety is a priority for anyone looking to move into a new neighborhood. Use the following insights to evaluate neighborhood safety:
- Crime statistics: Check the city’s website or contact law enforcement for crime statistics in the neighborhood. While there is no crime-free neighborhood, you can get a sense of how much crime takes place and what kind.
- Neighborhood watch: Most neighborhoods have watch groups monitoring the community. Ask residents or local law enforcement for the neighborhood watch group information.
- Engage residents: You can also get a sense of the neighborhood’s safety by talking with neighbors. When purchasing my home, I also liked driving throught the neighborhood at different times of the day so see what goes on.
3. The community’s general character
Community character is very subjective. However, you should evaluate the general aspects to determine if the neighborhood is a good fit for you and your family. The following can help you understand the community’s character.
- Public life: Does the neighborhood come together for public events organized by local businesses or religious institutions?
- Family friendliness: What are the general demographics of other community members? Are there kids around for your children to play with? A young person might prefer a vibrant neighborhood, while individuals with families might prefer a quiet neighborhood.
- Neighborliness: Do the neighbors seem happy to want to speak with you about the possibility of moving in?
4. School quality and choice
If you plan to start a family in the future, you should find a neighborhood with quality public schools. You can determine the performance of the neighborhoods school district by:
- Checking test scores and data: Test scores are an important indicator of the school district’s performance.
- Programming: School programming is also important. If your kid performs well in their classes, the district should consider offering advanced placement or college-level courses.
- Sports programs and extracurricular activities: If your child loves engaging in sports activities, such as swimming, football, or other extracurricular activities like writing, find a district that offers these activities.
- News articles: Search online to see whether the school has made headlines for positive news.
- Attend board meetings: You can get a sense of the direction of the school district by attending meetings.
5. Recreational activities
Choose a neighborhood that accommodates your favorite recreational activities. Even if you are buying a home during winter, you should check out the neighborhood’s outdoor amenities. The neighborhood should have sidewalks, parks, and safe walking trails, especially if you have dogs or prefer evening walks for your health and well-being.
For my family, outdoor activities are important. We enjoy going to local parks for picnics in the summer.
6. Future developments
Most people focus on the current state when searching for a new neighborhood. However, you should look into the future proposed development projects in the neighborhood for various reasons. Whether you intend to live in your new home for five years, ten years, or more, you should know the future of your new community.
Read articles or visit the local planning office to see how upcoming projects may affect your life in the neighborhood. Otherwise, you might end up moving into a neighborhood backing into a future industrial park and blocking your views.
The bottom line
You should consider several factors to find a perfect neighborhood. Many people focus on home value, property taxes, accessibility, and available amenities, but the quality of the general neighborhood is just as important.
Marette Flora is the founder of Floradise blog and personalized gift shop. Marette is a passionate storyteller and creator. She attended the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication.
She is passionate about creating helpful and meaningful things.