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How to Find the Right Neighborhood

No one wants to go through the lengthy process of buying a home only to end up in a neighborhood that lacks some of their basic needs, has character flaws, or has no projected growth. Use the tips below to help you narrow in on the neighborhood that is right for you.

Step 1: Determine Your Perfect Neighborhood1
Take time to make a list of all the characteristics and features your ideal neighborhood will have to offer. Below are some of the most common factors considered when looking for a neighborhood:
• The style of home that you want
• How much of a commute you’re willing to make
• Is walking distance to stores and entertainment important?
• What are you lacking in your neighborhood now that you would like?
• What is it that you would not like in your neighborhood?
• Do you have children whose needs will be met?

Remember, it can be difficult to find a home in a neighborhood that has the perfect combination of all the characteristics that you would want. You will want to discuss which of these needs you can live without in favor of the more important ones in case you end up having to compromise.

Step 2: List Which Neighborhoods You Are Interested In1
Chances are, especially if you are moving within the same city, you already have an idea which neighborhoods you would like to look into. Put together a list of all of these areas and start the research process pulling together the information listed above for each.

Step 3: Research and Compare Details Among Neighborhoods1

Not only will you want to compare all of the features of these neighborhoods based off of the information from step 1, but you will also want to get down to the nitty gritty. Start collecting the following information to compare across the board:
• Crime statistics that might affect your safety
• Area parks and recreation that can provide entertainment or unwanted traffic
• Any neighborhood association you may have to pay fees towards
• Town attractions you might enjoy taking advantage of
• School information for all grade levels if you have children

Step 4: Make On Site Observations1
You can gather all of the information that you want online, but you often times can learn more from actually going to the neighborhood and taking in all there is to observe. Use your senses to gather information on the following details your potential neighborhood has to offer.

Use your sight to determine the following:
• Your first impression of the neighborhood
• How you would fit in the neighborhood
• Any changes at different times of day
• Warning signs and worrisome activity
• If schools live up to their online ratings

Use your ears to evaluate the following:
• Area traffic
• Airport noise
• Frequency of sirens
• Train track proximity
• Nightly entertainment

Use your nose to evaluate the following:
• Are there any bad odors?
• What about good odors?

Step 5: Finalize Your Choices1
How much you can afford can play a huge part in determining which neighborhood you choose if there is a large difference in price ranges. Of those you can afford, compare all of the information that you have gathered and narrow in on which neighborhood is your first choice. Knowing that you may need to compromise, you should have a close second or third option available once you start the mortgage application process.

Source:
1hgtv.com, Gray, L. How To Choose A Neighborhood, http://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/how-to-choose-a-neighborhood

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