When you’re looking to rent or buy a new home, you may know exactly what you want in a house—but it’s important to find the right neighborhood, too. Consider these tips during your search:
1. Make sure the neighborhood meets your needs.
Any non-negotiable elements are the first things you should examine. For instance, it’s important for your work commute to be a manageable distance. If you regularly use public transit, you should select a neighborhood with bus stops or a train station nearby.
Keep in mind long-term needs, too, like accessibility if your household includes elderly members, or nearby schools if you have or plan to have children.
2. Try not to compromise on your strongest preferences.
It’s crucial for you to be able to imagine yourself living there and being happy over the long term. You should make sure the area meets most of your strongest preferences—if not all of them—to give you the best chance of long-term contentment in your new home.
3. Visit the area at different times of day.
One of the best ways to determine what it would be like to live in a specific neighborhood is to visit the area multiple times, at different hours of the day.
Some things to look out for: late-night noise, well-lit streets, families with kids, neighbors spending time outdoors, and traffic levels during rush hour and after school.
4. Check out the neighboring properties.
Look around the neighborhood for signs of home improvement, regular property maintenance, proper trash disposal, and the like. It’s always nice to have neighbors who care about keeping the community clean and welcoming.
5. Find out everything you can online.
Research crime statistics for the area as well as school ratings—even if you don’t have kids, having good schools nearby can raise property value. You can also look up the history of housing prices in the area to see if average home values are trending upward or at least remaining stable.
And if you’re currently in the market for your first home, don’t forget to check out our previous post covering 14 things to look for in a new home—plus our post about some common mistakes that first-time homebuyers make.