From the time we’re children, everyone has an idea of what their dream life looks like. Dreams like these typically involve much more than physical possessions – but if there’s one staple in everyone’s dream world, it’s the perfect neighborhood and home. The definition of “perfect” will be different for everyone, but we all want an ideal place to call home.
Eight Tips for Choosing the Neighborhood of Your Dreams
While most people emphasize the house when looking for a new home, the neighborhood plays a critically important role in the selection process. Not only does it affect the way you feel about your community, but it also has a direct impact on your property value.
With that being said, let’s quickly analyze a few of the top tips for choosing the neighborhood of your dreams:
- Think About Where You’ll be in 3-5 Years
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not planning for the future. They purchase a home in a neighborhood that’s right for them at that very moment. And while there’s nothing wrong with this (you definitely want to be happy in the present), failing to consider the future can force you to move prematurely.
It’s especially important to think about the next three to five years. Any time you buy a house, you should be prepared to stay for at least this amount of time. If you have a growing family, will the neighborhood accommodate you?
- Consider Walkability
Being able to walk around means different things to different people. For folks who live in the city, this may mean being able to walk to the supermarket, work, school, etc. For people in the suburbs, this may mean being able to walk to the corner store or neighborhood pool. You can visit WalkScore.com to see different information on nearby places and commutes for specific addresses.
- Look for Some Architectural Diversity
While there’s nothing wrong with track home neighborhoods that feature the same two or three floor plans over and over again, try targeting neighborhoods that have a bit more architectural diversity. This includes homes that were built during different time periods and feature different materials, styles, and lot sizes. These neighborhoods tend to attract a variety of people and are much more conducive to families.
From a value point of view, homes in diverse and established neighborhoods tend to be worth more. This is simply a result of marketplace demand.
- Research the 3-Mile Radius
Walking is one thing, but what most people really care about is how long it takes them to drive somewhere. As a good rule of thumb, analyze neighborhoods through a three-mile lens. In other words, what amenities are located within a three-mile radius of any neighborhood you’re considering?
The three-mile radius is essentially the same as saying, “Where can I get (by car) in less than 10 minutes?” Ideally, you want things like grocery stores, gas stations, banks, and a couple of restaurants. However, some people prefer to live in more rural areas and would actually prefer for there to be nothing within a three-mile radius. Either way, make sure you’re taking this into account.
- Consider School Zoning
If you have children, you’ll need to analyze school zones in order to ensure that you’re sending them to good schools. While you may already have an idea of which schools you do or don’t like, you can always use a tool like Neighborhood Scout to gain some more in-depth information on things like test scores, class sizes, teachers, and even racial makeup.
- Look in Backyards and Garages
You can learn a lot about potential neighbors by looking in their backyards and garages. That may sound strange, but we aren’t telling you to trespass. You can gather some intelligence from the curb. Are there toys and strollers in the garage? Kids must live there. How many cars are in the driveway? Are there playgrounds in backyards? You can gather a lot of information by remaining cognizant of your surroundings.
- Know What Constitutes a “Red Flag”
As you drive through neighborhoods and conduct research online looking for the perfect one, you should be meticulous in your due diligence. Not only are you looking at homes themselves, but you should also think about less obvious details. You must know how to spot red flags and when to step away.
“Red flags include things like a new highway being built [in close proximity to the house], an increased number of short sales, foreclosures and vacant properties, but even the number of rentals in an area can be cause for concern,” says Lisa Frushone, a Pennsylvania real estate agent.
One big red flag is unkempt yards. You can tell a lot about a neighborhood and the neighbors by looking at landscaping. Do people cut their grass regularly? Are they pulling weeds, or do they let them overtake flowerbeds and sidewalks? Clean yards usually indicate good neighbors.
- Trust Your Gut
Finally, you just need to trust your gut. You know better than anyone else exactly what you’re looking for in your dream neighborhood. While you can do all of the research you want, look for signs of children the same age as your kids, and think about architectural diversity…it all comes down to how you feel. Does it feel like home?
Contact Green Residential
If you live in Katy, Texas, then you’re in luck. There are plenty of dream-worthy neighborhoods in and around the area. It won’t take long to find exactly what you’re looking for.
As you start to look for your next home, you’ll need to consider putting your current home on the market. At Green Residential, we specialize in offering full service flat rate realty and would love to help you sell your home. From professional, quality photos and outstanding MLS listings to showings and contract negotiations, we handle everything so you can focus on finding your next home. Contact us today to learn more!