Loving your house starts with loving you neighborhood. Having trouble choosing , not sure what you're looking for? Here are a few steps that will help you along the way.
Step 1 - Profile Your Perfect Neighborhood
Think about what you are really looking for. Make a list of "must-haves" at the top and "would-like-to-haves" at the bottom.
Consider the following:
- Do you have children or are you planning to have children anytime soon? Looks for properties close to schools, parks and community centers!
- What type of home do you want? Single-family, apartment, condo, townhouse, multi-family?
- How far are you willing to commute? Proximity to work should be considered!
- What is your current community lacking? Think about what you are missing now or wish you had on a day to day basis.
- Do you want to be able to go places on foot? Do you want to be within walking distance to local restaurants or shopping?
- Don't forget to think about what you don't want in a neighborhood.
Step 2 - Zero In on the Area
Focus your search on a specific area, working off your list of must-haves.
Step 3 - Get the Suspects
Start your research on background info for your ideal area, including:
- School Information
- Crime Statistics
- Parks & Recreation
- Neighborhood Associations
- Tourist Attractions
Step 4 - Find the Clues
Now it is time to visit the neighborhoods, and imagine yourself and your life in the neighborhood. Use your senses in the following ways to paint a picture:
Sights: First impression, visualize yourself in the neighborhood, observe the neighborhood at different times of the day, and look for any warning signs such as a lot of "For Sale" signs or rentals, vandalism etc.
Sounds: listen for any noise coming from nearby highways, airports or nearby clubs/bars, talk to current residents of the area, see what they have to say, they could be your future neighbors!
Smells: Are there any? Unpleasant smells can certainly affect your decision to line in an area.
Taste: ask yourself if the neighborhood matches your taste in a living environment, does it meet your criteria?
Step 5 - Close the Case
Once you've chosen the right neighborhood for you, its time to find a house you love! Which can often be the hardest part. Make sure to:
- Find out how much house you can afford - the amount of money a lender offers you is often more than you can truly afford to pay.
- Compare your loan options - find out what mortgage is right for you, decide between fixed and adjustable rate mortgages.
- Draw up your vision of home - now its time to think about what you want in a home!
- Find the perfect house!