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11 Things to Look For in a New Neighborhood

What You Need to Look For In Your New Neighborhood

Finally, your dreams are coming true. After a lengthy search, you’ve found the perfect home that meets all of your criteria and is well within your budget. It’s time to start working with your bank on your mortgage loan to make it official – or is it? 

Have you taken a good look at the neighborhood? What do you know about it? Some may just go on a brief drive through the area to see if it looks nice, but is that really enough? 

Truthfully, the neighborhood should be the first thing that gets an extensive look before you consider buying the house. Here’s what you really need to know about your new neighborhood before you commit to buying or building your new home.

Sidewalks

This is often something that gets overlooked by prospective homebuyers, but sidewalks can actually speak volumes about a neighborhood. The mere presence of sidewalks can indicate that there may be parks and other amenities within walking distance. Sidewalks offer a good amount of safety for anyone looking to go on a stroll to the local market or just around the block. In modern neighborhoods, sidewalks are often set farther from the street, adding an extra level of safety and landscape.

Local Amenities and Necessities

It’s important to think about what your local community has to offer. It’s nice to have a grocery store or market nearby, as well as other amenities such as parks and recreational areas. Is your bank nearby? How about a pharmacy, a gym, or even a hospital? Some may enjoy having a secluded home for that additional level of privacy, but if you’re looking to be part of a community with easy access to necessities, then you’ll want to know what is near you and what is not. If you prefer the tranquility of a more peaceful home, consider exploring house and land packages in suburban or rural areas. This lifestyle might not appeal to everyone, but many dream of having a home surrounded by nature, offering ultimate relaxation. However, if you prefer the hustle and bustle of a city, then it’s important to find the right area for you.

Crime Rate

The crime rate of the city and neighborhood will not only affect your quality of life but also your home’s value. Your realtor should provide accurate information about the local crime rate; however, you should also do your own research. There are plenty of useful websites to help you get a feel for how safe your potential new neighborhood is. No matter how safe your neighborhood is, things can still happen, so consider looking into getting CCTV, or video surveillance, to keep your home secure. You can never be too safe.

Education

If you have a family or are planning on starting one, then it should go without saying that you need to take a look at the local schools to measure the level of education. The quality of grade schools, private schools, and even preschools will not only affect your children’s education but also the value of your home. Do your own research by visiting the local schools and talking with those in the neighborhood.

Observe the Neighborhood Throughout the Day

We all expect realtors to be honest people, but the truth is that sometimes they will do what they can to make the sale. This may include only showing you the home at a specific time of day when the neighborhood is at its best. Be sure to observe the neighborhood at different times of the day. Does the neighborhood get loud at night? Does the area experience frequent high winds in the mornings or evenings? Are there strange smells that only occur at a specific time of day or night? You’ll want to have a strong idea of how the neighborhood is throughout the day.

Culture

Sometimes, you can find the best schools with all the local amenities you could want, but the culture just doesn’t fit. Are you looking for an urban vibe with an exciting social culture? Then a family-friendly neighborhood may not be for you, and vice versa. You can dig up all the stats in the world, but ultimately you need to imagine yourself living in your new neighborhood comfortably and happily.

Warning Signs

Occasionally, a bad neighborhood can have a good appearance, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t warning signs. Look beyond just the street you would be living on. Are there many houses for sale, for rent, or foreclosing? Too many foreclosures can actually decrease the value of your home as well as property taxes, affecting your city’s public services and safety. Maybe there’s a street next to yours with signs of graffiti and vandalism, indicating that perhaps the neighborhood is not as safe as you originally thought. You’ll want to ensure that your neighborhood is both financially stable and safe.

Future Plans

The neighborhood may seem like the perfect place for you and your family, for now. It would be wise to be familiar with the city’s future plans for your neighborhood and the surrounding community. Check with your local planning office to discover what’s in store for your city and neighborhood in the next 5, 10, or more years. Of course, not every future plan is laid out that far in advance, but at least you’ll have a good idea of how your neighborhood will be in the foreseeable future.

Neighborhood Associations

If there are neighborhood associations in effect, then you’ll want to be familiar with their policies, services, and possible restrictions, including lawn and construction restrictions. These associations can offer many benefits to a neighborhood, but if their policies are too restrictive for what you’re looking for, then it may be wise to look elsewhere.

Commute

For some, a commute may be a necessary sacrifice in order to afford a good home in a good neighborhood, but it may not be as desirable if you suddenly find yourself having a longer commute than you were anticipating. Take the time to drive your new commute at the appropriate times when you would be commuting before you commit to buying your new home. Is the commute time doable/what you were anticipating? Will the cost of gas affect your finances more than expected? These are some of the things to find out about your new commute before you commit to it.

Taxes and Fees

Finding the right home for the right price is extremely exciting, but have you accounted for the taxes and other possible fees that you’ll have to pay? Some home associations in nicer neighborhoods could have pricey fees. You’ll also want to be familiar with your property taxes, so you can make the necessary steps to ensure that you can well afford your new home and all the taxes and fees associated with living there.

If you’re looking to build or remodel your home in Chattanooga, TN, visit Broadleaf Residential to bring your dream home to life.

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