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Finding your way in the neighborhood
RE/MAX Genesis
Wednesday, May 21, 2008 • Posted May 20, 2008 10:00 PM

Choosing the right neighborhood is as important as finding the perfect house. Think about it: When you purchase property, you are essentially buying the area where you will spend a lot of time as well—at stores, parks, schools, neighbors’ homes, roads, and everything else that goes into a neighborhood. We all want to live in a community where we feel safe and comfortable. We also want to live in a neighborhood that fits our style. But how do you know which one is right for you? Start out by asking yourself what type of neighborhood you could happily call home.

Create a list

Finding the right neighborhood can be a challenge, so begin by creating a checklist of the features important to you. You may want to consider nearby parks, schools, close proximity to shopping, restaurants and places of employment, a low-crime rate and well-maintained homes. You may prefer an older, established neighborhood over a new development. Whatever your preferences, write them down and rank them in order of importance. This can help you narrow your search.

Get a feel

The single best way to get a feel for a neighborhood is to get out there and walk it. Try doing this at different times of the day and on weekends and weekdays. Pay attention to the condition of the homes, the yards, the sidewalk and the street. Take note of the people who live in the area. If you encounter someone on the street, don’t be afraid to stop and ask questions. Ask them how they would describe their neighborhood. Find out what they like and dislike about living in the area. If you are relocating to a new city and really want to get a feel for the neighborhood, you might even consider subscribing to the community paper.

You can also get a good feel for the neighborhood by visiting the local schools to see if they are well-kept and well-run. Even if you don’t have children, good schools are important to the resale value of your home.

Safety

Everyone wants to live in safe and comfortable neighborhoods. If you are moving to an area you are not familiar with, contact the police department for information on crime and safety. The police department is obliged to provide you with details about a particular neighborhood or community. This is probably your best source for crime-related information.

The Internet is also an excellent resource. With a search engine and keywords, you can generate a good bit of information.

Don’t forget

In the excitement of choosing what type of neighborhood best suit your needs, don’t forget to pay attention to some often overlooked details. While these may seem minor at the outset, they could potentially affect your future enjoyment.

Traffic— To avoid a busy street, many buyers choose to live on a cul-de-sac. But even cul-de-sacs can get their fair share of traffic, often from drivers who’ve taken a wrong turn. Don’t assume that a neighborhood is less traveled than another. Visit it. Drive the area at different times of the days and on weekdays and weekends.

Future development—Find out what plans the city has for your soon-to-be neck of the woods. If the blueprint includes new development that is too close for comfort, better to know before you buy. Or, you may be pleased to know that a new shopping center is in the works that will makes things even more convenient. Either way, you’ll want to know before you move in.

Find a Realtor

So, with all of these preliminary decisions to consider, you may be wondering at what point should you find a Texas Realtor. The sooner the better. Not only will your Realtor help you navigate the complicated process of finding and purchasing a new home, but your agent can share their knowledge about the neighborhoods you are considering. To find out more about the homebuying process,I invite you to visit TexasRealEstate.com.

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