Finding your dream home to purchase means taking many things into consideration. You, of course, want the home to be the right price that you can afford and have all the features your heart desires, such as the number of bedrooms, a big backyard with a pool, or an indoor/outdoor flow.
Another very important thing to take into consideration when choosing a home: the neighborhood. If you plan on putting down roots, you must ensure that your potential new home is in an area that you love and aligns with your vibe and lifestyle. To make sure you don’t experience neighborhood regret down the road, keep reading for seven tips on finding the right neighborhood to buy a home.
1. Get clear on your ideal neighborhood’s vibe
Before you hit the pavement searching for your dream neighborhood, write out a list or a description of your ideal neighborhood’s overall vibe. Consider the types of people that live there (retired people, young professionals, small families), the community’s aesthetic (modern or old-time charm), and the atmosphere (quiet and quaint or lively and social). Get clear on your preferences. This will help narrow down your search and serve as a vibe checklist as you shop for a home.
2. Decide what amenities are important
Once you’ve got your ideal neighborhood’s vibe down, also get clear on what amenities are important to you. Amenities can include parks, walking trails, nature areas, easy access to public transportation, nearby commercial strips, local attractions, or community gardens. Then check to see if the potential neighborhoods you’re looking at buying in have these types of amenities. These features may not seem like a big deal but they can make living in the area easier and more enjoyable.
3. Spend time in the neighborhood
Just like you try on a pair of pants before buying them, try on your new potential neighborhood by spending some quality time there. Pictures and online reviews are great, but nothing beats experiencing it for yourself IRL. Spend some time there walking around, eating at the local restaurants, shopping at the local boutiques, and enjoying all the amenities as if you were already a resident. Pro tip: Visit the neighborhood at different hours of the day to see if your impression of the area changes.
4. Talk to people in the neighborhood
Take your neighborhood research a bit further by chatting with locals because no online listing will give you the scoop on the town like a local will. Hang out at some of the local spots and spark conversations with people. Ask them what it’s really like living there, their favorite things about the area, and their least favorite things. Most people will be happy to share their insider tips and perspective with you and won’t be afraid to be honest. And if you do decide to move there, you’ll already have made some friends.
5. Think of the future
As you’re deciding on a neighborhood, also think about your future plans and what type of lifestyle, vibe, and amenities you may need and desire down the road. For example, buying a home in an area surrounded by nightlife may sound fun now, but if in the future you decide to start a family, things like a good school system and a family-friendly community will be more of a priority. Look into and consider your future wants and needs now, even if they don’t feel as relevant, to ensure that you’ll be happy in the neighborhood now and in the future. Future you will thank you for it.
6. Consider the proximity to places you frequent
Yes, living in a neighborhood with the right energy for you is key, but it doesn’t matter how wonderful the neighborhood is if it’s too far from the places you frequent such as your place of work or your friends and family member’s homes. Long commutes may not seem so bad when you first move, but they can wear you down over the years making even the perfect neighborhood feel not so ideal.
7. Tune in to how a neighborhood makes you feel
No matter a neighborhood’s ambiance or amenities, your final decision should come down to how a particular neighborhood makes you feel. Remember that choosing the perfect house and neighborhood to call home is an emotional decision. Before you start home and neighborhood shopping, ask yourself: how do I want my ideal neighborhood to make me feel? Joyful? Proud? Peaceful? Lit up? Get clear on that feeling. Once you find a neighborhood that makes you feel the way you want to feel, you’ll know you’ve got a winner.