Top 8 Tips on How to Choose the Right Neighborhood
Property hunting isn’t easy. One of the first lessons in learning how to choose the right neighborhood is getting comfortable with its complexity. In spite of all the madness and frustration that surrounds the process, you must find a way to organize your thoughts. If that seems impossible at the moment, fear not! We’ve compiled a list of 8 tips for choosing the right neighborhood and made it into a nice step-by-step guide. If you follow the organizational process below, you might just breeze through the home-hunting process and make it out alive!
Consider Your Lifestyle
Before you even begin your neighborhood search, it’s important to know what you want to surround yourself with. This doesn’t only mean people. You need to consider the prices, commute time, schools, shops, transportation, and the list goes on.
In order to know how to choose the right neighborhood, you need to know what’s right for you. It’s easy to get sidestepped and blindsided by a misleadingly good offer that we forget to look around. Are you physically active? Maybe you’d prefer an active neighborhood with gyms nearby and a nice rivière for jogging. Or you’re packed with kids and would just like a neighborhood with good schools and plenty of other parents!
Whatever your needs are, write them on a piece of paper. Categorize them into important ones, and ones you could live without. This will help you proceed to the next step in planning your new life.
Once you know what you absolutely need in your neighborhood and what’s not that important, you can start looking neighborhoods up. This is a nerve-wracking process but’s it’s necessary if you want to learn how to choose the right neighborhood. As boring as this will be, it’s important to weed-out all the options that won’t meet your needs, so that you can close in on a few that are perfect!
First, take the piece of paper and start organizing! Make categories of all the home options, and divide them into those that met all your needs, those that meet just a few, etc. Chances are you’re going to run into a lot of exceptions to the rules you’ve set for yourself. This process is all about weeding out the options that are absolutely out of the question.
The next tip on how to choose the right neighborhood is to take all the information you’ve collected and start re-considering everything because home-searches are unpredictable and there’s nothing you can do about it!
The whole point of the first two tips on how to choose the right neighborhood is to weed out what won’t serve your brainstorming process. The next step is informed brainstorming, where all the options are equally good! This is because once you’ve set you home-search categories and made a comprehensive list, you’ve found out a bunch of other information that made you want to scratch it all up. For instance, you’ve categorized your search by appropriate price, preschools and your job commute time. You think you’ve closed in on a few options but there’s a problem. A few of them are in an urban area, and your child has asthma.
You see, we tend to overlook a lot when we actually start closing in and researching. That’s why it’s so important to weed out before you start brainstorming, and then you’ll actually see that some categories become less relevant and others jump out as more important. This is why it’s crucial to be absolutely open-minded when you brainstorm, even if some options seem worse than others.
Now that you’ve brainstormed, you finally have enough detail to start planning. Take all the ideas and start categorizing them properly. Arrange your neighborhood options into categories that outline the advantages of each. For example, those that have the best price should go under a category like high budget-friendliness.
This process helps with visualizing and weighing all your options. Once you’ve neatly organized your options and know the advantages and disadvantages of each one, you can finally start looking.
Find Neighborhoods Online
When it comes to learning how to choose the right neighborhood you can never have enough research. The internet is a vast source of information, and you’d be better off using it.
Look up all the information you can find about each of your home search options. Find their local police online, look up crime rate, try to get some info on the demographics etc.
Many neighborhoods have taken to making virtual communities online. Try to find out if some of your neighborhood options exist virtually on a platform. This can not only help you gain some more info about what the community is like, but also be a very good sign! Every neighborhood that made an effort to come together and organize online is likely to be a pleasant community!
Consult Your Children
If you have children, you probably have special needs. While your children are not exactly real-estate agents and you shouldn’t be asking them for serious consulting, letting them have a say in your neighborhood hunting is one of the most important tips on how to choose the right neighborhood.
Describe the school in each neighborhood, take them with you to see all the options, and ask them what they think. Naturally, your kids won’t have the last say in the matter, but they might help you change your approach, and consider something new, that might not have occurred to your adult brain. If you’re interested in how to pick the right schools for your children – Time has a great article on the subject!
Make a List of Questions
When you know all your essential needs, make a list of questions to ask real-estate agents. You want to be really thorough, so think of all the details. Ask about piping, break-ins, next-door neighbors, parking space – whatever it is that might be useful to know.
Make sure to find out how long the property has been on the market, why have the owners decided to sell, and can you meet them in person. You don’t want to find out there’s something wrong with the house or the neighborhood when it’s too late. So don’t abstain from asking some uncomfortable questions and save yourself a lot of trouble down the line.
Once you’re done with papers and outlines and out looking at houses, it can become infuriating. Again, things might start to go surprisingly array. That house you thought was perfect just got a higher bidder and you just can’t top that. That nice rural cottage you wanted to retire in turns out to have the electricity wired irreparably wrong.
This is all very natural and it happens to everyone. Choosing the right neighborhood is a process that requires a lot of patience because there are a lot of variables to consider. You might feel the need to rush into things and just sign the first deal that looks good, but that’s going to come back to bite you. Be prepared for disappointments, surprises, frustrating negotiations and delay.
Now You Know How to Choose the Right Neighborhood
Hopefully, now you’re armed with the right knowledge you need to organize your neighborhood-search. Make sure to examine your lifestyle in detail to know what your individual needs are. Find a ton of great options and be prepared to get disappointed by them! Learn to categorize your needs in order to organize your search so that nothing can go past you! Double-check your potential neighbors online, and feel free to google for any security concerns you might have. You should also ask all the real-estate agents the same questions for each individual property. Do this even if it seems uncomfortable. And don’t forget to include your children when looking for a new environment that will ultimately help them grow. It’s only fair that they have a say. And remember: When you organize your search well, nothing will get past you.