Real Estate & Area News

Home Shopping Advice - Choosing a Neighborhood

There's a lot of advice out there on the Web about home shopping. You can find myriad articles and blog posts about getting pre-qualified for a loan, potential problems to look out for or how to find an agent. There seems to be a surprising lack, however, of advice on choosing a neighborhood; hence, the reason for this little ditty. The neighborhood you live in has a huge impact on your life and affects nearly every aspect of it. Different homeowners value different things: some want to be close to work, while others want to be close to a park, shopping or local attractions. Homeowners with kids may hold proximity to good schools as their most important requirement for a neighborhood. Regardless of what you're looking for in a neighborhood, however, it can save a lot of time if you make that choice before looking at individual homes.

The easiest way to scout neighborhoods, and the most obvious, is to just drive around and explore. Drive through a handful of neighborhoods in the general area where you want to live to see which might be suitable. If you come across several you like, take time to walk those neighborhoods. Talk to some of the residents and pay attention to the homes you pass. If several homes in a neighborhood are starting to look run down, it may be an indicator that the area is on the way down. If you have already talked with an agent, he or she will be able to tell you things you can't see, such as how quickly homes appreciate in a neighborhood, crime statistics and schools.

In addition to driving around scouting neighborhoods, it's also a good idea to search the Internet for news, demographics and crime statistics about a neighborhood you're considering. There are literally dozens of websites out there that provide this type of information, and many even allow you to compare crime data of multiple neighborhoods side by side. You can also contact local law enforcement to get information about crime trends. and are two good sources for school information, while Trulia is a good source for crime and demographic information.

April 10, 2014