|Posted by Anita White on November 5, 2014 at 1:30 PM|
Moving your household has a major impact on your family. You’re faced with finding a home in a new neighborhood, packing all your possessions and adjusting to the new environment. Even if you move within the same city, you may still face significant adjustments.
Choosing a neighborhood that is a good fit for your family is one of the most important life decisions you will ever make. It can impact the schools your children will attend, the social networks you engagein and the number of hours you’ll spend each year in your commute to work.
Regardless of your family structure and specific needs, the neighborhood you choose will impact your overall quality of life and your day-to-day and long-term satisfaction.
Why Meet the Neighbors Before Buying a Home?
When selecting a new home, the Internet is a huge asset. Data on sale prices, floor plans, schools and general location information is easily accessible. You can also view pictures and videos of potential properties online.
However, the Internet is limited to a two-dimensional perspective. Even with Google Earth, it is impossible to get an accurate feel for a potential neighborhood. There is no substitute for a hands-on approach. You’ll want to walk or drive around the area to give you a three-dimensional look at the community you’re considering.
Spending time in the new neighborhood will give you a helpful perspective. Do you notice long-term road construction, barking dogs, a nearby airport or other factors that might impact your quality of life? Are people painting, planting flowers or working on other home projects, indicating pride in home ownership that will also maintain home resale values? These clues will support assessing whether the neighborhood is a good fit for your lifestyle needs.
How to Meet the Neighbors
A Realtor will help locate communities near your work, school and other important destinations. Your initial impression of these areas will narrow down possible neighborhoods.
After selecting a few locations that appeal to you, it is critical to make a physical inspection. Exploring the neighborhood from sidewalk level will allow you to observe features you wouldn’t notice from a car.
Walk along several of the streets at different times of the day. If it’s cold, drive around in your car. Are people walking their dogs? See if neighbors are outside during daytime hours and homes are lit up in the evening.
Determine whether your observations match the type of neighborhood you are looking for. Does it seem that most of the people are retired? Are there many children playing or riding bikes? Walk the routes you and your family would take if you lived in the neighborhood, such as to the bus stop, school, stores or activity center, to be sure you’re comfortable with the surrounding area.
If people are outside, introduce yourself. Conversations will give you a sense of what the neighbors are like and what they think about the area. Current residents typically provide relevant and honest recommendations since they understand the importance of the decision to buy a home in a new neighborhood.
If you see a sign for an upcoming homeowners’ meeting or neighborhood gathering, consider attending. Look for community Facebook groups. These venues can offer a sense of what is important to the neighbors based on issues they discuss.
Meeting a few neighbors and spending time in a prospective locale is part of the due diligence that will help build your confidence in your decision on a specific neighborhood. Could you see these people as members of your future support system?
When you buy a home, you’re getting not just what’s contained within the boundary of your property and the walls of your house. You’re buying more than a house; you’re buying a slice of the people, activities and culture of your new neighborhood.