Decisions, decisions. That’s the name of the game when it comes to picking your new dream home. Condo in the city? Sprawling pad in the suburbs? Cute bungalow close to downtown? The options can seem overwhelmingly endless. How do you find the perfect neighborhood for you?
The right home is more than just a price tag or a floor plan, but also all the things around it that make it cozy and inviting: from the foliage on the property to the neighborhood coffee shop around the corner.
Whether you are staying in the same city or moving across the country, you want to set yourself up somewhere that suits you the best. Here are some ways to find the right neighborhood to call home.
This may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning: be clear about what you like! Before you start your home search, create a list of what you love about your neighborhood. Take notice of the things that bring you the most joy in your current housing situation. Is it neighborhood restaurants? Being able to walk to a nearby park? Walking your kids to school? If you love taking a stroll to get breakfast in the morning, then you may not want to live in a purely residential neighborhood away from the city center. Conversely, if you value peace and quiet above all else, then a suburban neighborhood might be the right place for you.
Writing down your priorities can go a long way towards bringing clarity to your home search and choosing the right neighborhood that fits your lifestyle.
Do Your Research
Make sure to get the lowdown on a neighborhood and do some research. Read everything you can about the new city you are moving to or the neighborhoods you are considering. Don’t hesitate to chat with the neighbors that live there. Get the age and life stage breakdown of nearby residents, check out school rankings, or take a look at the local hot spots by doing a quick online search.
Be sure to research city and neighborhood-specific blogs as a way to learn about weekly events or track new developments around town. This will give you a good sense of what kind of things are happening in the neighborhoods you’re sizing up. If you want to be in a family-oriented neighborhood, look for kid-friendly events and family-fun activities like farmers markets or art walks. If you want to be in the middle of a hip neighborhood, look for bar openings, pub crawls, or cool concert venues that host your favorite bands.
There is plenty of information available online where you can look up demographics and housing trends to help you learn more about a neighborhood.
Ask Someone Who Knows
Find a real estate agent you can trust, who is well-versed in the local housing market trends, and a neighborhood expert. Your agent is a great resource to help narrow the focus of your home search with their in-depth knowledge of the area. Plus, they should understand your unique needs. No one knows a local area better than an experienced real estate agent. Compare and contrast stats of the agents you’re considering working with to determine who really has a proven track record in your neighborhood.
Be a Wanderer
Sometimes, the best way to get to know a new place is to get lost in it. After visiting an open house or two, take the time to wander around to see all there is to see in the neighborhood. Get a feel for your potential neighbors, admire the architecture, stop in for a coffee at a local shop. Give yourself a good couple of hours to look around, take in the sights and see if the neighborhood is right for you!
Following these tips will help you figure out what neighborhood you’d be happiest living in. With so many options out there, be sure you’re picking a town that best fits your interests and lifestyle.