If houses are like spouses, a neighborhood is like the extended family. But while you can have a good marriage and still dread holidays with the in-laws, you’ll never love a house if you don’t like your neighborhood. How can you choose the perfect neighborhood? Become a neighborhood detective. Figure out what you’re looking for, do research and find a neighborhood that fits your description.
Before you start scrutinizing neighborhoods, turn the magnifying glass back on yourself. Think about what you’re really looking for in a new neighborhood. Remember, you’ll probably have to make compromises, so put the “must-haves” at the top and the “would- like-to-haves” at the bottom. Not sure what fits your lifestyle? Here’s a list of 12 types of neighborhoods to get you started.
If you’re moving within the same city, you may already know the various neighborhoods. Choose the ones that best match your list of wants. If you’re moving to a new city, you’ll have to do more research. Start by picking a part of town to search in. For instance, if your job is on the west side of town, start there. In a really large city, narrow it down to a few-block radius, say, SoHo in New York City. This will make your search more focused.
With your area of the city in mind, start digging up information. Find interesting neighborhoods online, ask local real estate agents for recommendations and compile all the background information you can, including:
Once you’ve done the background research, visit neighborhoods that made the preliminary grade in person. There’s no better way to paint a real picture of life in the neighborhood. Use your senses to get a complete picture of the prospective community.
You’ve chosen your neighborhood. Now for the hard part: finding a house you love. Luckily, you’ve narrowed it down to a few streets. Now, make sure to:
Use these tips and you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect neighborhood for your family.