Q: I have a pretty clear idea of what features I am looking for in my next home. How do I decide about neighborhoods?
A: Experts in real estate generally agree that the neighborhood you choose may be even more important than the specific home you decide to buy. The adage, “location, location, location” applies not just to the price of real estate but to all of the other factors that go into choosing the right location to live.
Neighborhood atmosphere is a significant factor in deciding where and how you want to live. Is living without much street noise or the sounds of your neighbors important to you? In that case “quiet” is an important part of the atmosphere you are seeking. For families with children, a neighborhood that enjoys the sounds of kids playing and where families socialize may be important. Do you want to be part of a newer area and enjoy seeing the landscape mature over time or would you rather move into an older area with established shade trees and landscaping?
There are plenty of online resources available to help you with some basic neighborhood searches however, your REALTOR® can certainly help you narrow down your choices and share additional insights when it comes to the kind of neighborhoods you like.
Once you focus in on your preferred locations based on atmosphere and price, there are a number of other important factors to consider.
• What are the schools like and how easily can children get to and from school? Greatschools.org and Coloradoschoolgrades.com are two websites that may help you evaluate the schools in the area.
• Are these safe neighborhoods? The local police department is a good resource for finding out about crime rates and other safety issues. Online resources like Crimereports.com may also be helpful. Check with local merchants for their impressions of safety and other neighborhood issues.
• How long is the commute to work, houses of worship and doctors’ offices?
• Is public transportation available?
• Does the neighborhood offer recreational opportunities like parks and bike trails?
• Is shopping, including grocery stores, nearby?
• Have homes in this area generally appreciated (gone up) in value over the years or are the prices trending downward?
Before becoming too strongly committed to an area, spend some time driving around at different times of the day, both during the week and on weekends. Take your time in making sure you are as comfortable with the neighborhood as you are with your new home.
This article was provided by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®. Additional information about buying and selling real estate is available at www.coloradorealtors.com.