WHAT KIND OF NEIGHBORHOOD WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE IN?
- Do you feel more comfortable in a busy city or a quieter suburb?
- Do you like modern homes or historic homes in established neighborhoods?
- Would you prefer that there are a lot of multi-family dwellings or mostly single-family homes?
HOW TIGHT IS YOUR BUDGET?
If you’re working with limited funds, a real estate agent can help you identify areas that offer incentives for newcomers or programs that help first-time buyers. If you’re not sure how big of a loan you’ll qualify for, it’s best to figure out the financing before pinning down neighborhoods and homes.
WHAT IS THE CRIME LEVEL LIKE IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS YOU’RE CONSIDERING?
You can use free online tools to scope out potential problems, but you should also visit each neighborhood you’re considering. Bear in mind that the feel of a neighborhood will vary based on the day of the week and the time of day you visit, so consider visiting multiple times.
HOW FAR ARE YOU WILLING TO COMMUTE TO WORK?
Some cities have fantastic public transit, which may be able to get you to work faster than your car will. It’s a good idea to limit your search to areas within a reasonable distance from your place of employment, but research other transportation options, as it may open up other neighborhoods to you.
WHAT ARE THE SCHOOLS LIKE?
You may not have kids yet, but educational opportunities will be important if you plan to have a family in the future. There are many websites that rate schools, so you can read reviews or check the latest test scores.
ARE THE NEIGHBORHOODS CLOSE ENOUGH TO YOUR FAMILY?
People with close family ties will certainly want to keep this in mind, as it can be difficult to continually shuffle from one relative to the next, especially if you have children.
WHAT FACILITIES DO YOU NEED TO HAVE ACCESS TO?
It’s a good idea to create a must-have and a want list, which include things like:
- Grocery stores
- Places of worship
- Fitness centers
- Cultural attractions
- Alternative transportation
When you’ve got it nailed down to a few neighborhoods, consult with a real estate agent. Keep an open mind, though, because your agent might be able to come up with other neighborhoods that you’ve overlooked. You may also find that you’re willing to change your goals a little once you have a better idea of what’s happening in your market.