March 7, 2019
It’s no secret: Where you live influences every aspect of your daily life. When choosing the right place to settle, you have to think about area schools, traffic, proximity to work and recreation, parks, shopping, restaurants and personal services. Here are some ideas to consider as you begin your own search.
While many people prefer to live close to work, not everyone wants to settle in a busy corporate area. If you don’t mind a commute, other areas of the city may offer more features that will add to your daily life. Spend some time in each pocket of the city to get a feel for nearby entertainment.
Which Neighborhood is Right for You?
Your first task should be to determine which area of the city you’d like to live in. Maybe you’re looking for a home in a neighborhood you’re familiar with. If you’re not, you’ll need to do some exploration to get a feel for your city’s different neighborhoods.
This will help you hone in on the homes that would best suit your needs. You can find demographic, employment and community information online, often on real estate sites. Buyer agents can also help compile data for you, too. Concentrate your search in areas where houses are in your price range.
To get the most out of your search, you should check the real estate section of your newspaper often, browse various real estate listings online and work with a qualified real estate agent to locate potential homes. It even helps to visit the neighborhoods you would like to call home at different times of the day and at night to check traffic and noise levels.
When evaluating locations, look out for:
- Airplane traffic/noise
- Foot traffic
- Cars and trucks
- Noise from dance clubs and late-night restaurants
Once you’ve narrowed your search, drive to and from your workplace in the morning and the evening from the neighborhoods you’ve chosen. How long is the commute? Is the time commitment reasonable? Are there alternative forms of transportation (bus, ferry, train) that you could use?
Additionally, what are your chances of staying in the job you have now for the length of time you’ll be living in the house? If changing work locations is a possibility, you won’t want to pick a house just because it’s near your current job.
Is This the Right School District?
If you don’t have kids and don’t plan to while living in your new home, then school zoning won’t likely play a role in your search.
However, for people with families or those who plan to start a family, finding the right school district is top of the list. After all, the quality of your children’s education will determine their future. You’ll find information about districts you’re considering from the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences National Center for Education Statistics. You can also call and visit local districts to get statistics on school rankings.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- How do students score on statewide and national tests?
- How many students go to college?
- To technical school? Drop out?
- What colleges do they attend?
- What are some of the problems facing the schools in this area?
- Ask to see records of drug use and incidences of violence.
- What is the weapons-in-school policy?
- What is the student/teacher ratio?
- Are art, music, drama and sports programs offered?
- What are the ages and conditions of school facilities?
- What is the student/computer ratio?
- What grade do students begin learning computer skills?
- What languages are offered?
Answering these questions will help you piece together a picture of the educational hub surrounding different neighborhoods and decide which one will best serve your child.
Honing in on Your Perfect Home
The suggestions listed here are only a jumping off point for your home search. To get the most out of the home selection and buying process, it’s always best to work with a buyer agent who knows the area and can provide you with detailed reports of city areas, home details and more.