Shopping for a home can be both exciting and overwhelming. When looking for the perfect place to live, one of the first steps you need to take is determining which neighborhood is right for you. To that end, here are a few tips to keep in mind when trying to find the right neighborhood.
Tip #1: Know Your Budget
To narrow down your neighborhood options, you must first have a good grasp on your budget. This includes knowing everything from your liquidity to your debt-to-income ratio. This will help you determine a realistic down payment and purchase price for your home, thereby helping you decide which neighborhoods are the best match for your budget.
Tip #2: Consider Your Goals
When selecting your neighborhood, you need to consider both your short- and long-term plans. If you only plan to live in the neighborhood for a short period of time, for example, you may want to purchase a home that can generate income by being rented out once you decide to move. On the other hand, you may be more interested in staying for the long-term and purchasing a property that is likely to increase in value over time. Examining these goals will help you to better select a neighborhood that will help you to meet them.
Tip #3: Check the Amenities
Neighborhood amenities are an important factor to consider when choosing the right place to live. Amenities to explore include public transportation, access to greenery and open space, and whether or not the neighborhood boasts a local park or is a short walk from the waterfront. Public transportation to consider include trains, busses and access to bike lanes. The availability of public transportation may be particularly important if you will depend upon it to commute to and from work. If this is the case, give the public transportation a dry run at the time you would normally use it in order to get a better sense of what your daily routine will be like.
Tip #4: Availability of Conveniences
The availability of conveniences is another factor to consider when selecting the perfect neighborhood. This includes access to grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, banks and other establishments that you may need to access on a regular basis. While some neighborhoods have fully-formed commercial strips, others have only the basics available. Typically, more affordable neighborhoods will not have as many offerings, but the trade off may be worthwhile for you as you work within your budget. Furthermore, driving a bit further for these conveniences may be a good trade-off for you if you are interested in being a little more secluded.
Tip #5: Sense of Community
If you are looking for a neighborhood where you can feel as though you are part of a community, you might want to look for one with features such as residential streets, commercial corridors and community gardens. If you have a family or plan to start one in the future, you should consider the schools serving the neighborhood as well as the availability of sports, clubs and other activities for your children to enjoy.