In the market for a new home? For many people, buying a home may be the most expensive purchase of their lives, so finding the one you like in a neighborhood that’s a good fit can be the difference between enjoying your home over the long term or moving again in just a few years.
Consider your needs and wants
To find your new neighborhood and home, think about which features and amenities are your “must-haves” and which are simply “nice-to-haves.” Our home wish checklist (PDF)* can help you determine which home features are most important to you. In addition, the answers to the questions below can help to focus your search.
- Do you have children? If so, school ratings will be important to you.
- Do you want your children to attend public or private schools?
- Do you want to live near friends or relatives?
- Do you want to live close to work, or farther away?
- Do you have an idea of how long a commute would be comfortable for you?
- Do you need public transportation or good access to highways for your commute?
- Do you prefer a particular age or style of house or neighborhood?
- Do you have an important hobby or pastime – like running, for example, that would be easier to do near a greenbelt?
- Do you want to be close to stores, parks, and other community activities?
Think about financing and consult a real estate agent
After you’ve narrowed your focus, start thinking about home financing options. A home mortgage consultant can help you learn about your loan choices and estimate how much you might be able to borrow. Contact a home mortgage consultant today.
A local real estate professional can also help you learn more about potential neighborhoods and homes. Share your needs and your target purchase price with your agent and ask questions about his or her recommendations, including:
- Have home values in the neighborhood increased or decreased over the past 3, 5, and 10 years?
- What is the resale potential of homes in the neighborhood?
Watch for red flags and make an informed choice
Once you’ve found a neighborhood and a home that fit your needs, carefully evaluate the immediate area. A home is a significant purchase, so think about anything that might irritate or concern you later.
- What are the surrounding homes like? Are they in good condition? Do you see unattended pets, trash piles, or excessive visitors?
- Does the street have a lot of traffic? If this bothers you, a quieter neighborhood and a different home might be more suitable for you.
- Would it bother you to hear train or highway noise?
- Does the neighborhood feel safe? Plan multiple visits, speak to the neighbors, and if you remain concerned, ask the local police for neighborhood crime statistics.
- If local businesses are nearby, will the traffic, noise, or lights bother you?
By thinking about your needs and doing your research, you’re likely to find a neighborhood and home you’ll be happy to live in for years to come.