There is no such thing as the perfect neighborhood, but there is such a thing as the perfect neighborhood for you.
If you thought finding your dream home was difficult try picking out the ideal house in the ideal location. Unless you have an unrestricted budget, you might not like the equation I’ll illustrate for you, but at the very least you’ll find it helpful.
Step One: Make a list of what you want in a neighborhood. Consider both your current lifestyle and the lifestyle you want to have in a perceivable future. What are your hobbies? Are you currently single but want a family? Are your children about to leave the nest? Here are some other things to consider:
- Urban or Suburban- do you own a car?
- Proximity to work – accessibility to public transit
- Amenities – walking distances?
- Crime Statistics – safety first
- Highly ranked schools – even if you don’t have children homes situated in a good school area will always have higher value.
- Neighborhood associations – is there one and what sort of restrictions do they implement?
Step Two: Ask yourself what your must-haves are and what you’ll be willing to compromise about both your home and your neighborhood. Say you prefer taking public transit to work, this could mean you might have to opt for a neighborhood closer to main streets, it might not be as quiet and footage might be smaller and more expensive.
Step Three: Conduct field research. Once you’ve completed your neighborhood profiles and narrowed down your options make sure you go and check them out for yourself! Try to visualize yourself there and engage all your senses. Is there any smells that don’t seem right, which area seems to have the better restaurants or is there a lot of construction happening? Talking to residents also helps, not only do they have more insight but they could be your future neighbors.
Step Four: Once you’ve shortlisted a couple of neighborhoods draft out a pro and con list (yes, I endorse pro and con lists) this will help you determine which is the best fit for you and your priorities.
Step 5: Begin searching the listings, location is only half the battle!