Preparing to move comes with many unknowns — starting with the neighborhood. Finding a neighborhood that fits your lifestyle is almost as important as the house you buy. Below are the most important factors to consider when narrowing down your list of possible new hoods.
1. Nearby Amenities
While distance to gas stations, pharmacies and grocery stores might not seem important when starting your search, these amenities will be invaluable after you are settled in. Before choosing a neighborhood, scout the area for the closest grocery stores, healthcare centers and bank locations. All of these factors will contribute to a more convenient lifestyle.
Apps that can help: Werzit (Free, iOS/Android), AroundMe (Free, iOS/Android)
2. Local Market Details
You’ve mapped the distance to the nearest Target and Starbucks, but how much do you know about the local real estate market and community? Begin your home search on a site like HomeFinder.com, that includes important community details and market information. Also do thorough research on the taxes. You might have found your dream house, in your dream area, but the taxes could price you out of the neighborhood.
Apps that can help:HomeFinder.com Real Estate Search (Free, iOS/Android), Mortgage Calculator by Quicken Loans (Free, iOS/Android)
3. Transportation Options
Access to transportation (both public transportation and highway access) are an important part of your everyday life. After visiting a prospective neighborhood, drive around the area and note access to major interstates or highways. If you live in a metropolitan area, research what public transportation options are available to you. Using public transit to your advantage can help cut back on costs like gas and general car maintenance.
Apps that can help: Transit (Free, iOS/Android), Moovit (Free, iOS/Android)
Does your preferred neighborhood come with a long commute to work, friends or family? Consider if you’re willing to sacrifice the extra time spent on the road for your prime location. Purchasing a home within walking distance to a downtown area might cost more, but in exchange you will have the luxury of a quick walk to town, or easy train access if you are commuting from a suburb.
Apps that can help: Commute (Free, iOS/Android), Waze (Free, iOS/Android), Walk Score (Free, iOS/Android)
5. School District
Even if you don’t plan on using the school system, buying a home in a neighborhood with a great school district can benefit you. Purchasing a home in these areas can result in a higher resale value and offer protection from instabilities in the market. If there are school-aged children in your family, look beyond testing statistics and research core competencies, extracurriculars and teacher credentials and support. Learn more about why school district should impact your home search here.
Apps that can help:GreatSchools Finder (Free, iOS)
After you find your new locale, use these tips to give you and your family a fresh start in your new neighborhood.