Before you choose a home to buy, consider the neighborhood. Buying a home is not like buying new clothes, which can be returned at a later date. A mortgage is a long-term financial obligation that often lasts 20+ years.

If you purchase a home and then realize that the neighborhoods not for you, there is no going back. You should think of your new neighborhood as extended family, because if you don’t and you hate it, it will be extremely difficult to love the home that resides within it.

How can you choose the right community?

Research, study and investigate. Write down the amenities and features you are looking for in a neighborhood. Think about what you’re looking for now, but also keep the future in mind. Below we have compiled a list of common questions you should answer when researching a neighborhood of a home you’re interested in. We hope they help!

Do you have children or plan on having children?

If you’re a parent or plan on becoming one in the near future, researching local schools is imperative. You want your children to go to the school with the best teachers and highest ratings, so doing your due-diligence is especially important here.

Local school districts also benefit single home owners. If you purchase a home in an area with a highly regarded school your property is more likely to have a higher value.

How far are you willing to commute?

This is especially important for those who work. How will you get to work from your new abode? Will you drive, walk or take public transportation to work? Do you have a car or will you need one to get to work? Review local transportation hubs to make sure you can get to work from your new home.

Historic neighborhood or new development?

Historic neighborhoods are older, have a ton of character, but occasionally require significant repair work to be completed. To make matters more complicated, that work is governed by the local community often with strict standards. Newer neighborhoods or developments have modern features but are typically further from the center of the city.

This decision can be especially important if you’re looking to buy in a larger city with more traffic and longer commute times.

Do First Impressions Matter?

Yes. Remember your first impression. When you drive through a prospective neighborhood what did you see and think? Take note of anything that stood out. This may be a unique neighborhood layout, parking (or lack of), the curb appeal of the homes, even local shops and business districts.

Try and picture yourself living in the neighborhood. What will your daily routine look like? The more you enjoy your new neighborhood the easier it will be for you to find things you enjoy.

Observe the neighborhood at different times of the day

Get a snapshot of life in the neighborhood by driving through it at different times throughout the day. This will help you get a better understanding of the intricate details of the community.

Is your future home by a college and does it become a parking lot during school hours? Are people outside socializing as the sun sinks? How well are the streets lit at night?

You can get a better understanding of life in your new town by taking note of visual clues that will help you decide if it is the right fit.

tips for buying in the right neighborhood

What does the neighborhood sound like?

The last thing you want is to move into a neighborhood that never sleeps. While bird and nature sounds are (for the most part) relaxing, noises coming from local highways, airports, and train stations are not. No person wants to listen to the sound of a train’s horn blaring before they’ve had their morning coffee.

To find out more about the noise pollution in the neighborhood it is recommended you talk to your future neighbors. Airports and train stations may be easy to spot, but you might be unaware that Dan three houses down likes to party every Saturday and Sunday into the wee hours of the morning.

What environment are you seeking?

This is another important question you should answer before buying. What type of neighborhood environment are you looking for? A downtown, hip, urban scene? A quiet, green, nature-filled location?

There are many different neighborhoods in this country, and many of them offer unique environments. Some neighborhoods are built up next to shopping and restaurant locations while others overlook open parks and picturesque landscapes.

What is your current neighborhood lacking?

For those who want to make the switch from the center of the city to the ocean, this may be an easy decision. Ask yourself if you are comfortable with having to drive to locations near your new home or are you looking for a property that allows you to walk on foot to entertainment and local eateries?

For those who don’t mind doing a little extra research, some neighborhoods you can learn about online. You may also choose to reach out to local real estate agents for recommendations.

Additional factors to be considered:

Crime statistics: Research your new neighborhood’s zip code online. If you can’t find crime statistics, contact the local police station. This is a surefire way to learn if there are any criminal issues to consider. 

Neighborhood associations: Does the new community have association fees or bylaws? Understanding local restrictions and regulations is extremely important. They may have strict rules that must be followed concerning home construction or maintenance.  

Tourist attractions: Are you comfortable with living in a neighborhood close to popular attractions? This can play a role in local traffic levels.

After you’ve completed all the appropriate background research and visited the neighborhood in person you should feel comfortable making your decision. Gaining a complete understanding of your new community will not come easily, but it can be accomplished with determination and hard work. Happy neighborhood hunting and good luck from Buy My House Now!