Finding the Perfect Neighborhood for You…
The New Year is often a time for changes and new beginnings. For many, that means a new home in a new neighborhood. As exciting as this may be, choosing the right neighborhood requires a lot of thought. Here are some things to think about when finding the perfect neighborhood for you.
Evaluate your requirements
If you have kids, a friendly suburban neighborhood close to schools may be right for you. Or, if you spend long hours at work and would like to cut the commute or socialize after hours, staying closer to the city might be just the thing. Whatever your situation, start with a needs assessment that includes a checklist of must-haves and must-avoids.
Think about your lifestyle
If you are tired of living in the city, moving to the suburbs may be appealing, or vice versa. But think carefully about your needs. Do you need to hit the stores regularly, dine out, be close to the freeways, or perhaps be near medical facilities? Give it serious thought ahead of time to save yourself a lot of inconvenience later.
Consider your finances
You’ve just found the perfect neighborhood, but can you really afford it? Budget-wise there is a lot to consider besides just the mortgage. Look at taxes, upkeep costs, commute expenses, and any other recurring costs which may add on. The perfect place may not be so perfect if it causes a strain on your resources.
Crime and safety
While considering neighborhoods, safety is of utmost importance. Spend some time researching the crime rate of an area. For a crime map, go to www.crimemapping.com. Find out if the area has a Neighborhood Watch group, and talk to friends or colleagues that live nearby.
If you have kids, considering schools is critical. Even if you don’t have school age kids, a good school district increases the potential value of your home and any rental prospects. To research schools, go to www.greatschools.org. If you’re considering a new home within Santa Clara County or the Almaden Valley in particular, almadenvalleyrealestate.com offers a full list of Almaden Valley schools as well as a comprehensive overview of Almaden Valley neighborhoods and their associated schools.
Visit the neighborhood at different times
Visit the desired neighborhood at different times of the day and week to get a better perspective. For example, drive through during rush hour to check out traffic, and late at night to see how well the street is lit up. You can also learn a lot about a neighborhood through social networks like Nextdoor.com.
Talk to neighbors
Talk to prospective neighbors to find out more about the area. They are the best resource. At the same time, you can also assess if you would be comfortable with them. Nothing can mar the charm of a new home as undesirable neighbors. If they are unfriendly and unapproachable or leave their home and yard unkempt, these may be some tell-tale signs to watch out for. Messy neighbors could adversely affect your lifestyle as well as the future value of your property.
Think of the future
Try to picture yourself and your family a few years down the line. A change of residence is a long-term thing. If the prospective neighborhood will not meet your needs a few years ahead, think again. Finally, close your eyes and picture yourself actually living there. Does the thought make you smile? Do you like the neighborhood overall? Your instinct will give you the answer.