From urban hot spot to quiet countryside, the right neighborhood can make all the difference between loving your new digs and longing for your old home.  Check out these tips for investigating neighborhoods when you’re house hunting

Dream First

What does your dream neighborhood look like?  What’s most important to you?  Top-notch schools, nearby parks, lots of walking trails, easy access to restaurants and shopping? Paint a picture of your perfect neighborhood and share it with your real estate agent, too…

Get Up Close

Once you’ve zeroed in on a few neighborhoods, go there.  Plan several visits at different times of the day and week and to get the complete picture.  Consider:

  • Are yards and homes cared for?
  • Are public services plentiful and in good shape?
  • Are public areas well maintained?
  • Does the local library have suitable hours and programs?
  • Are there a lot of For Sale signs?
  • How noisy are nearby roadways – and the neighbors?

Get Schooled on the Schools

It’s important to understand the pros and cons of neighborhood schools.  Even if you don’t have school-age children, good schools can make a property more desirable if you ever want to sell.

Visit schools in prison attend a PTA meeting and research them to get an idea of test scores, class sizes, funding, special programs, security and other factors that matter to you.

Talk to Neighbors

You can change a lot about a house to make it your own, from kitchen makeovers to pain colors, but you can’t change who lives next door.  Once you narrow in on your dream home, drop in to meet your potential new neighbors – and watch for red flags.  For instance, if you’re dreaming of quiet evenings on your deck, then you might hesitate to move in next door to a family of six with a basketball court in their backyard.

One thing is certain: buying a house is a big commitment.  It’s perfectly okay to ask a lot of questions and be as nosy as you want.  Better to be thorough now, than surprised after you move in.


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