In many instances, buying your first house means you move to a new and unfamiliar neighborhood. When you relocate, this can be a great opportunity to learn and immerse yourself in a new community. While searching for a home, consider the area it is located in to help you decide whether to invest in the property. There are a number of factors you should consider to help ensure your transition is a smooth one.
Know what you want
Decide what makes you feel most at home. If you are moving from a small town to a big city, you might want to find a neighborhood that feels more like a small community outside of the city. Moving from a farm or acreage may inspire you to find a home that allows you to garden and spend time outside. Look for these features that make you feel most comfortable when house hunting.
FrontDoor.com recommended listing exactly what you want in your perfect neighborhood. While you will likely have to compromise some of your wants, having an organized list of what is most important and least important can help with your decision.
Each individual is unique and by searching through a variety of neighborhoods and communities, you can find a match that blends well with your lifestyle.
You might also want to consider how long it will take to commute to work or another part of town. Bankrate noted that access to the highway or public transportation can impact the price of homes. If you are new to public transportation, you may want to find a new home in an area that allows you to quickly and easily navigate to your place of work. While it might be more expensive, it can help you transition into your new life easier than having to take multiple busses and trains everyday.
After looking at a home, head to your place of employment to get a feel for the commute. Whether you are taking a train, bus or driving your car, knowing what it might look like can help you make the best possible decision for your new life.
Be aware of crime in the area
Moving to a new city means you are likely unfamiliar with the criminal culture. Call the local police station and ask for statistics in various regions of your new home. It is important to have information related to the criminal incidents that occur in different neighborhoods. This will also be helpful when you are officially living in your new city and go out to eat or drink in different neighborhoods. Having a solid foundation and understanding of which areas are safest can help with your transition to a new home.
Talk to prospective neighbors
Do not be shy when you are considering purchasing a new home. Ask neighbors about their experiences in the area and if they have any recommendations for fun things to do. They are currently living in the neighborhood and can provide valuable insight.
Your potential neighbors can let you know whether the community is strong, if you can easily access certain regions of the city and how enjoyable it is to live in the area. Also, if you know what you want out of a new home before speaking with those who would live near you, you can ask questions that specifically relate to your wants and needs.
Check out the establishments they suggest going to and get a feel for the character of the neighborhood. This can give you an idea of the prices to expect in the area as well. Ask restaurants and bars about specials that are offered throughout the week as well.
Walk around and observe
In addition to going to the places your potential neighbors suggest, take some time to walk around and explore on your own. U.S. News and World Report noted that being close to ample entertainment, grocery stores, banks and gyms can provide you with convenience. If you are further away from these types of places, the neighborhood may not be a good fit for you.
If you decide to move into a home without considering proximity to certain establishments, you might be stuck spending a great deal of time and money on accessing grocery stores or doctors' offices that are further away and less convenient.
When figuring out where you want to purchase a home, knowing the average age of those who live in the neighborhood can help you decide whether it would be a good choice for you. If you are a young parent, an area with a high volume of other young parents means you can connect with people who have something in common with you, may be able to organize play dates with others and the neighborhood likely accommodates the needs of your demographic. There likely will be more parks, day cares, good schools and stores tailored to your children's needs.