6 Steps to Choosing Your Future Neighborhood
Photo credit: Paul Stein
Neighborhood choice will weigh heavily on how much you enjoy your home
You’re finally ready to step into homeownership and have imagined the type of home you’d like to live in. You may or may not have thought much about the kind of neighborhood you’d choose to live in. You can love everything about your new house, but if you aren’t compelled to take advantage of what your neighborhood has to offer you aren’t getting the most out of homeownership.. It’s time to get your Sherlock Holmes on.
- Determine what makes a neighborhood perfect for you
Think about what you’re looking for in a new neighborhood?’ What are the things that you must have and what are the things you would like to have? A quiet, established neighborhood or an up and coming hip and trendy neighborhood?
Consider these things:
Even if you don’t have and aren’t planning to have children, neighborhoods with great schools create higher property values.
Parks and Community Centers
If you have children, you may consider some of the community amenities that are available to keep the little ones active. You may also want to consider these things as well if you yourself are active. You want to make sure that the neighborhood has safe places to run, bike or walk.
Which home type do you want? Do you prefer a single-family home, multi-family, townhouse or a high rise? Do you want to invest the time or money to have a lawn kept or would you rather this is taken care of by the HOA, as in a townhome or condo setting? The type of home you prefer can also dictate whether you want to be in an urban, suburban or rural setting, and vice versa. While many suburban neighborhoods are going vertical, high-rise living is still found mainly in dense urban neighborhoods. On the other hand, there are single-family homes in many cities, but you may not be able to afford the homes and would be limited to more affordable condos or townhomes.
Do you like new developments or historic neighborhoods?
While historic neighborhoods have much character and unique features from bygone eras, if the idea of having to do a lot of repairs is not your thing, this type of neighborhood most likely won’t be a good match. Conversely, if you like historic architectural excitement and uniqueness between homes a newer development may not float your boat.
Commute Times and Options
How far are you willing to commute? How are you willing to commute? In Atlanta, buyers considering buying an intown home find close proximity to Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) stops and stations a plus, while many looking to buy in the suburbs look for easy access to major roads and freeways.
Do you like the idea of being able to walk to the supermarket, nearby businesses or a coffee shop? You’d like a neighborhood similar to Denver’s eclectic Capitol Hill neighborhood or the Baker historic district with its breweries and popular restaurants.
- What do you NOT want in a neighborhood?
Sometimes it’s easier to think about the things you don’t want first. If you don’t like late-night noise, you’ll probably want to avoid neighborhoods with popular bars and nightclubs or one with a university. If you don’t like heavy traffic, you’ll want to stay clear of neighborhoods with regional shopping malls or major tourist sites. Honolulu’s Pearl City is a good area if you like good schools and don’t want to be in Honolulu’s tourist hustle and bustle.
- Narrow it down
Choose a neighborhood that best matches your list of wants. If you’re moving to a new city, start your research in close proximity to where your job will be. Spread out to the areas close to your main activities such as church, business association involvement, or leisure activities.
- Start your research
Research the neighborhood: look online, check out Cruvita.com or GreatSchools.org when researching school quality. Check out Spotcrime.com or Neighborhoodscout.com when determining the level of crime and safety. Most real estate sites provide zip code level crime stats, measured against the national average, if you need specifics, you’ll need to call the police department.
Find out if the neighborhood has a homeowner or condo owner association and if they do, what are their requirements and restrictions.
You can also call a local real estate agent that is familiar with the neighborhood for more insight. If you’re looking to buy in Honolulu, Atlanta or Denver, our PEMCO Realty agents are a great start!
- Pay a visit
After doing the background research, it’s time to visit the neighborhood(s) that stood out. Take note of your first impression. Do the homes have curb appeal and are well-maintained? Are the nearby shops inviting, places that you’ll shop in? Imagine living there. Where would you walk your dog or jog, would you be able to get your favorite breakfast food on the way to work?
Look for warning signs such as abandoned buildings or a lot of ‘For Sale’ signs. Would the neighborhood impress future buyers if and when you are ready to list your home? Observe the neighborhood during different times of the day, checking for well-lit streets and neighborly engagement. Listen out for unpleasant sounds: nearby airport, highway and trains. Talk to a few of your potential neighbors. Get the inside scoop on what they do and don’t like about the neighborhood. Get more information about the neighborhood from store owners or staff, the wait staff or convenience store operator. Be aware of the smells. Is there a plant or landfill nearby causing a distasteful odor?
- Time to find a home
After you’ve selected your neighborhood, it’s time to find the house.
If you’re looking in Honolulu, contact a PEMCO Realty real estate professional.
Heading to Atlanta? Be sure to contact a PEMCO Realty agent.
If you’ll be navigating the busy Denver housing market, a PEMCO Realty agent would be happy to help you.
5280.com. Denver’s Best Neighborhoods
Written by Ari Meier