Hunting for a new house is something to not be taken lightly. When you’re signing on the dotted line and have a mortgage set up, you don’t want to simply settle. However, a key factor in looking for a new home is finding the right neighborhood for your lifestyle. Some people prefer a more quiet neighborhood, some like to live in the middle of everything, and knowing the environment you want to live around is just as important as finding an ideal home.
As you start checking out various neighborhoods, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. Here are a few:
- Commuting to work. Some homeowners argue that this is the most important factor, especially if you live in a larger city with more traffic. Having a longer commute time can cut into your sleep schedule and make your morning feel more rushed before you get in the car. Check out the roads in and out of your neighborhood, as well as any freeways, and try to gauge the average traffic times throughout the day, and track the drive times with Google Maps or iPhone Maps. Also, longer drive times can add wear and tear to your car, which can cost you money down the road.
- Schools and school districts. If you have children or are looking to start a family, it’s important to live in a quality school district with easy access to the schools. You can look online to find a map of your city to find out which neighborhoods are assigned to which schools. On the other side, if you’re living without children and have no plans to start a family, you might find yourself put off by living near a school due to additional noise and traffic.
- Check out local crime statistics. Just as important as commute times – if not more – is learning about the crime rates in your potential neighborhoods. It’s important to do this as you need to know you’ll be safe where you live. However, it’s also important for another reason – your home’s property value. More affluent neighborhoods that begin to see an uptick of crime can find their homes losing value, which can add to your monthly house payment.
- The convenience factor. While a number of people prefer living somewhere further out, for even more, having access to more of the city is enticing. If you live near a grocery store, you can save money on gas in the long run instead of making longer trips out of town. Drive around your potential neighborhoods to see the proximity of businesses near where you’d be living, as you can better calculate how much time you’ll be on the road or walking.