For many homebuyers, choosing a neighborhood is more important than choosing a house when shopping for a place to live. You can repair, remodel, or renovate a house but there are many things about a neighborhood you can’t change. What should a buyer look for in a neighborhood? This list may change based on your interests, but there are many neighborhood factors that can add value to your home. Remember, it is all about “Location, location, location”! Here are some things to consider when shopping for a neighborhood:
This is a “No Brainer”. Having good schools in your neighborhood will increase the value of your home. Even if you don’t have school-aged children this can be important because other folks may choose where they live based on the schools in the area. And, if you are going to sell your home at some point, this can make your life that much easier. Another benefit worth mentioning is that you will live in a neighborhood with people that value a good education for their children.
An attractive feature of a neighborhood can be its proximity to services and amenities. Being able to walk or bike (or a short drive) to restaurants, a grocery store, post office, bank and other retail services increases the chances that you’ll use them more often. Emergency and Government services (Police, Fire, Post Office) should also be close by to increase the marketability of your home.
If a neighborhood has a town center or public space close by with a large enough population for public transportation and local business to be maintained it can be said it has a high “Walkability”. Add affordable housing, plenty of public parks, and a more pedestrian-centric layout (buildings close to the street, parking in back, and streets designed for cars, bikes, and pedestrians) and you increase the walkability. Look at it this way, the more time you spend in your car commuting is less time you can spend in community activities. Another added benefit is that not having to use a car to get around can decrease household expenses and possibly your waistline while being more kind to the environment.
Having access to parks and green spaces is beneficial to everyone. Dog owners have an even more specific need for their furry family members; A Dog Park. If you are a dog owner, having a clean dog park and walking trails within proximity to your home can be a strong selling point because it provides places to exercise your pet.
This is something that gets overlooked often; Are there any planned improvements for the neighborhood soon? You can check with the city’s Planning Department to see if any improvements are planned for the neighborhood, what they are, and when they’re scheduled to be completed. Is a new Baseball Stadium planned for an empty lot near your home? Will there be any maintenance or upgrades with regards to the roadways? These things can impact your day-to-day living and overall value of your home.
Having large, healthy, and mature trees in a neighborhood can add to the aesthetics of the area while also potentially reducing cooling bills during the hotter months by providing shade. During the colder months, the trees can serve as a wind breaker which can reduce heating costs by 20 to 50 percent. Add to that the potential for an addition of value to a home (anywhere from $1K to $10K) and you have another thing to consider when shopping for your next neighborhood.
Happy Neighborhood Hunting!