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How to Find the Right Neighborhood For You

Courtney Heyward

Originally from Greensboro, Courtney is a North Carolina native and has been in Raleigh since 2005...

Originally from Greensboro, Courtney is a North Carolina native and has been in Raleigh since 2005...

Jan 9 5 minutes read

It's not easy to choose the perfect neighborhood for you or your family. Let's face it, your neighborhood is just as important as your house. If you are not happy with your neighborhood it will eventually lead to you not being satisfied with your home. Do your research to determine what a neighborhood has to offer you. The greatest areas for families with children is not always the best place for a single person or empty nesters. This article will explain the things that you should be looking at in a neighborhood during the buying process.

Location

Location is everything. Imagine living in an amazing area, but you work 50+ miles away. This won't leave you much time to enjoy everything your neighborhood has to offer considering you will be spending most of your time commuting to work. Commuting can be overwhelming and can create dissatisfaction in the home you purchased.

Location plays a huge factor when it comes to the community and it's amenities. If you live in a rural area, it may be harder to find gyms, retail stores, or things to do. However, if you enjoy the seclusiveness of a rural area, this may work for you. Drive around areas of interest to see everything in their proximity. 

PRO TIP: Drive or walk around the area's you are researching.  Make sure to take note of distances and time that it takes to get to some of the places you may be going to often.

Interview The Locals

Talking to neighbors is a great way to see if you would enjoy an area. Locals will know the area best and can make you aware of the perks and issues. Most people love chatting about their neighborhood and where they live. Ask questions like:

1) I am moving to the area and was curious to hear what you love about living here?
2) I am curious to hear what are some of the changes you are hoping for in the near future?                              
3) What is something that you would only know if you lived here?

PRO TIP: You Can also Google: How is Living in (Neighborhood).  This will reveal forums or blogs that give local insight.  

Schools

If you have kids at home then schools may be an important factor in your neighborhood. Some people are looking for a school nearby for their kids to walk to. Some are seeking schools for children with special needs. The best advice we could give is to decide on the schools you enjoy first, then begin looking for the neighborhoods around the school. 

PRO TIP: There are many online resources such as GreatSchools.org where you can look up the schools in your area and their rating. Once you have decided on a school that you believe will be best for your family, schedule a tour.

Property Values

The value of a property plays a huge role in choosing a neighborhood. If your desired neighborhood has high-value homes this means higher taxes to provide services to the area. If a home has a declining property value, as we had in 2008, it can directly impact the value of the entire neighborhood. 

PRO TIP: Don't go for the most expensive home in the neighborhood. If the home value is above the neighborhood average it may appreciate slower or take longer to sell than those closer in value to the average.

Safety

While some consider safety to be the most important factor in a neighborhood, not everyone can afford to live in a gated community, nor does everyone want to live in a gated community. However, you can look at the local police reports to see what mischief goes on in a specific area. You can even use online resources like crime maps to get an idea of the crime rate in certain areas.

*Realtors cannot discuss criminal activity with clients

PRO TIP: Ring has a downloadable app called Neighbors that shows you local incidents in a given area. You can also check sites like AreaVibes.com or NeighborhoodScout.com for additional info.

Bottom Line

The neighborhood that you live in can have a greater impact on your satisfaction than the home itself. The right house in the wrong area will leave you unhappy in the long-run. Research online, speak with locals, and drive around the surrounding area to determine the if the neighborhood is right for you or your family.

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