When you got married and purchased your first home with your spouse, you probably didn’t scrutinize every little detail. You were just excited to call something your own, so the fact that it was a starter house with little quirks didn’t matter. You knew you’d be moving on in a handful of years.
Well, now the time that you anticipated has come. You have a young family and you’re busting at the seams in your current home. Not only is it time to upgrade your house, but you also want to find a good neighborhood where your family can grow and thrive for many years to come. And because you plan on being in this house indefinitely, you want to make sure everything is perfect.
7 Tips to Make Your Search Successful
Searching for a good house that fits your family’s needs is hard enough. Trying to find a good house in the right neighborhood – one that’s safe, kid-friendly, and appreciating in value – is even more challenging. It is, however, possible.
In a hot market, like the one that exists today, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the process and make rash decisions. To avoid making a foolish choice that you’ll regret later, force yourself to slow down and take a disciplined approach to the home search process.
The following tips and suggestions will help as you search for the best neighborhood for your young family.
1. Use Online Tools to Narrow Your Search
When it comes to finding a family-friendly neighborhood, the internet is your best friend. There are hundreds of resources that can help you evaluate different elements that are important to you – including crime rates, school zonings, access to amenities, and more. A few favorites include:
- NeighborhoodScout. This resource is pretty awesome. Just type in an address or zip code and it allows you to check out statistics and reports on real estate values, demographics, crime, schools, trends, forecasts, and more. Some features are free, while others require a small fee.
- GreatSchools. When you have a young family, schools are a big deal. You want to position your family in an area where the schools are rated highly in academics, sports, and college placement. GreatSchools can give you all of the data you need to evaluate specific neighborhoods.
- Our Neighborhood Guides. Not to toot our own horn, but we have some pretty stellar neighborhood guides on our own website. If you’re looking for a home in Greater Houston, check out our website and learn about different areas like Rice Military, the Energy Corridor, Katy, Sugar Land, and more.
Do enough poking around online and you’ll find whatever you need. Before long, you’ll become an expert in school zones, crime rates, and demographics.
2. Drive Around
Online research is great, but nothing beats seeing various neighborhoods with your own eyes. Once you zero in on a couple of areas that grab your attention, load up the car and drive around. Better yet, take a family walk and get a feel for what neighborhoods are like.
3. Talk to Neighbors
As you drive/walk around, don’t be shy. If you see a family playing basketball in the driveway, let them know that you’re checking out the neighborhood. They’ll most likely volunteer information. If you see someone working on their yard, ask them how long they’ve lived in the area.
You’ll get a better feel for what a neighborhood is like when you spark conversation, including answers to questions like these: Are the neighbors polite and friendly? What percentage of the houses are owner occupied versus rentals? How much turnover is there? Are there lots of young kids?
4. Look for Signs of Pride
You can tell a lot about a neighborhood by how people take care of their houses. Is the landscaping well kept, or are there weeds and trash everywhere? Are houses kept clean, or is there mildew on the siding and trim work? Do newspapers pile up on the driveway, or do people clean up after themselves? It’s the little things that speak volumes about a neighborhood.
5. Think About Proximity
Practically speaking, you want to make sure a neighborhood is close to the resources you need on a regular basis. This includes your job, schools, supermarkets, churches, and friends. While you’ll probably have to compromise on certain things, make sure you’re at least taking these factors into account.
6. Look at Amenities
When you have a young family with kids, neighborhood amenities matter. This includes things like playgrounds, swimming pools, parks, sidewalks, flat roads, and big backyards. The more amenities a neighborhood has, the more likely it is that your kids will enjoy it and want to stay. While it’s ultimately not their decision, it’s a lot easier to make a move when the kids are excited about it.
7. Ask for Your Agent’s Advice
If you don’t have much experience working with a real estate agent, your opinion of them may be skewed. You might think they’re simply there to take a 3 percent cut of the transaction and part ways. However, nothing could be further than the truth.
In addition to facilitating a smooth financial transaction between buyer and seller, a buyer’s agent helps clients find the perfect home. They have an in-depth knowledge of real estate values, school zones, neighborhoods, and trends. By working with the right agent, you get access to all of these benefits.
Let Green Residential Help
One of the primary benefits of working with Green Residential in your home search is that our team is comprised of local real estate agents who have years of experience living and working in Greater Houston. As such, they’re prepared to help you find the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood. They offer advice based on personal experiences, not speculation.
If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in the Houston-area, we would love to help you with your real estate needs. For more information – and to meet with one of our skilled agents – please contact us today!