You know what you're looking for in a home, but do you know what your ideal neighborhood looks like? Most people picture themselves living in a nice community but struggle to define that term adequately. If you're only just beginning your search for homes, then one of the best ways to narrow down the sometimes overwhelming number of options is to focus on neighborhood attributes. Figuring out what those attributes might be is often easier said than done, however. These three factors will help you to zero in on the aspects of a community that matter most to you.
Commute Time and Walkability
One of the most contentious factors for many homebuyers is the importance of commute times. Every homebuyer has a limit, but those limits can vary a great deal from person to person. If a car-centric life is acceptable to you, then it may be worthwhile expanding your home search further from your workplace. Even if long commute times are acceptable, however, it is crucial to consider the walkability of the local area and distance to nearby amenities. How far are you willing to drive for essentials such as groceries? How vital are sidewalks and safe pedestrian areas? Not all communities place the same value on walkability, so be sure that neighborhoods that you are considering meet your specific needs.
Schools (Even If You Don't Have Kids)
Many young homebuyers without children ignore local school systems, but this should be an essential aspect of your search even if you do not intend to have kids in the future. School districts have a significant impact on home values, which means that your home's resale value depends heavily on the quality of nearby schools. When considering neighborhoods, carefully review the local school system. In addition to the quality of the schools themselves, it is essential to consider local attitudes towards school funding. An underfunded school system is unlikely to remain good for long, and reduced school quality in the future can impact your home's long-term value.
Activity and Noise
Some people love the hustle and bustle of the big city, while others are looking for the peace and quiet of rural living. Whatever your preference happens to be, visiting neighborhoods that you are considering is the best way to ensure that they are a good fit. Avoid only visiting neighborhoods during scheduled house tours or open house hours, and instead drive or walk through at various times during the day. Taking this approach is especially important if you work from home or if you will be home at unusual hours.
It is important to remember that even the perfect home will be difficult to enjoy in a neighborhood that you do not love. Taking the extra time to find the perfect community for your future home will pay dividends in the future. Talk to a real estate agent if you are ready to start looking at homes for sale.