Neighborhood Qualities to Consider When Purchasing a Home

There are so many things to consider when buying a home, and choosing the right neighborhood is key among them.  The quality of your neighborhood will likely dictate a great deal about the home you purchase as well as your overall level of enjoyment in your new home.  But what exactly makes a great neighborhood and what should you look for?

To help answer that question, we’ve highlighted a few neighborhood qualities to consider when purchasing a home.

Start with Stealth Evaluation

As silly as it sounds, start by stealthily (and openly) vetting neighborhoods you’re considering purchasing a home in.  For starters, simply begin by walking through the neighborhood with your family.  If you and your family members feel safe, then generally, the neighborhood will be safe.  However, if you have any weird feelings or concerns, it might be best to look elsewhere.

Additionally, take a stroll through a neighborhood at night and see how the neighborhood presents itself after dark.  Neighborhoods that seem safe during the day can sometimes be different animals at night.  Don’t stop there either, if you can, talk to some of the residents of the neighborhood and get their opinions on it.  You’ll likely find that homeowners in the area are more than willing to give their unabashed opinions of where they live.

Look Beyond the Neighborhood

One of the most important qualities to consider in a neighborhood isn’t necessarily the neighborhood itself but its proximity to other things that are important to you and your family.  When vetting potential places to live, always be aware of where things that will be necessary for your daily lives are in relation to your home or the neighborhood.

Perhaps the top things to consider are how close you are to your kids’ schools, your work, and grocery stores.  These are places you’ll visit on a daily or weekly basis and shouldn’t require a great deal of pain or problems to get to them.  Additionally, prioritize things you’d like to be near on a regular basis.  Perhaps entertainment venues, golf courses, parks, or trails are necessities for you and your family.  If so, vet neighborhoods near desirable locations that meet your needs.

Think of the Worst-Case Scenario

Many homebuyers aren’t thinking about disasters or catastrophes, but it’s worth considering when you’re checking out new neighborhoods.  Mainly, what happens when or if you or a family member falls ill, needs to see a doctor, or needs to visit an emergency room.  Are facilities nearby in the event of sickness or emergency?

Also, consider how close you are to local police stations, fire stations, and emergency management centers.  Should something go wrong or you need emergency support, how quickly can local law enforcement or fire departments get to your home?  Finally, depending on where you live, how quickly is it to evacuate your home and reach safety in the event of a natural disaster?  Will you be hampered by traffic, potential debris, or other hazards?

Think Long-Term

Finally, consider the long-term value of your neighborhood.  What kind of value will your home have in 5 or 10 years?  Is the neighborhood seemingly on the upswing where your home could appreciate in value more quickly or has it been steadily declining?  When you’re buying a home now, it’s sometimes difficult to plan for the future, but it’s something worth keeping in mind.

Plenty of resources are available including Zillow and other online catalogs of home prices in certain areas.  Do some research and see what other homes have sold for and how those housing prices have changed in relation to other neighborhoods in your area.

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