Location, location, location.
There’s a lot of truth to that real estate cliché. Where your dream house sits affects your quality of life, your kids’ education and safety, and so much more.
For most families, a home purchase is the biggest single investment they’ll make. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to do some detective work because this is the kind of research that really pays off. When scouting out a new neighborhood, here are some things to keep in mind:
Before you begin house-hunting, consider your current lifestyle and what you might want in the future. Begin searching with a sense of your values, needs and priorities. If daily walks along serene trails are a must, narrow your search to neighborhoods that are close to trails. If you must have access to a local pool, skip downtown areas where home lots tend to be small and access to pools is far and few between.
Experts suggest making a list. Put your “must-haves” on top and “would-like-to-haves” at the bottom. Are you looking for something leafy and suburban or lively and urban – or maybe a mix of the two? Do you value privacy and quiet, or a vibrant nightlife? Your answer to those questions will be extremely helpful.
Take time to explore prospective communities. Spend time in each neighborhood you’re considering and identify nearby amenities and conveniences.
Walkability has become a bragging right for many neighborhoods. How far away are parks, community centers and other attractions? What about the local coffee shop, restaurants and shopping centers? Determine how far you are willing to travel for everyday conveniences, such as gas stations, dry cleaners and medical clinics.
Many of today’s new home communities offer a myriad of amenities. For example, at Copperleaf Community we boast a community clubhouse and pool as well as trails, parks and so much more!
For most buyers, the time it takes to get to work and schools is a major consideration. Consider how your commute will affect your quality of life. Do you work from home or travel frequently? Is proximity to an airport important? How close are major highways for convenient drive times?
If you have or are planning to have children, schools could be a major factor in deciding where to live. Research schools in the area and familiarize yourself with school districts, test scores and property tax rates.
The asking price may be within your budget, but what about the future? Working with a real estate agent who is familiar with the area can be helpful in determining if property values are on the rise or declining. Is there lots of development happening? What about public infrastructure improvements? Find out what the current tax rate is and how much it has increased over the last five years. How much could you be paying in another five years?
Or maybe you’re considering a new build? Do you know what size lot you’ll need, how many bedrooms you’ll want, or what extras you want built in? The benefits of a new build home can include discounts on extra amenities if you commit to purchasing a new-build home during the earlier development stages.
You’ll also want to be aware of any HOA costs or fees. These typically present themselves as an additional monthly or annual fee.
Check crime rates for desired neighborhoods online or contact the local police department. Drive around the area, looking for any signs of vandalism, such as broken windows and graffiti. Are people friendly or do they avoid making eye contact?
Finding the ideal new neighborhood can be daunting, but if you’ve done your homework and have a clear idea of your goals, the search will be much easier. Ready to start looking? Check out Copperleaf Community for more information on homes, neighborhoods and available properties.