Perfect House, Perfect Location?
When you are ready to move, choosing a location depends largely on where you are in your life. If you have kids, you might prefer a neighborhood with other families. If you want to live close to shops, restaurants and bars, you might prefer a location that's close to a downtown area. In either case, you should do your homework to be sure you really want to be there.
Imagine your company is transferring you to a new city. On your house hunting trip, your time to find a house is limited, so your realtor takes you to see a number of homes on a weekday during the day. One home in particular seems to have it all. It's a short commute to the office, and although the homes in the neighborhood are older, it is beautiful and quiet. You love the floor plan and the updated kitchen, and your kids will love the big back yard, which is full of mature trees that are perfect for climbing or for a treehouse. You buy the house and move in only to find that in the evenings, the neighborhood is noisy and the street is very busy—not ideal for kids who might be riding bikes or skateboarding.
Situations like this can be avoided by taking a few simple steps ahead of time, whether you are moving across town or to a new town:
- Drive through the neighborhood in the evening after 5 or 6 p.m. This is usually a busy time and you can get a feel for the noise and traffic level.
- If you have kids, make a mental note of the ages of any other kids you see in the neighborhood. If they are the same age as your kids, it could be the ideal situation. If not, your kids might not love their new neighborhood as much as you do.
- Take a walk through the neighborhood to see if there are any odd smells or loud noises.
- Are other properties in the area well-maintained? If not, it could bring your property value down or make resale difficult in the future.
- Are a lot of houses for sale in that neighborhood? If so, try to find out why.
- Check the school district's rating. Even if you don't have kids, it's better to be in a recognized school district for resale value.
Whether you are moving downtown or to the suburbs, staying in the same city or moving to a different one, if you are concerned about crime you can check resources. Fortunately, that's easy to do online or by checking with the local police department.
Don't Wait Until It's Too Late
Finding out your new home is in an area that doesn’t suit your needs after you move in puts you in a tough situation. If the issues in your neighborhood are not fixable, it could be difficult to sell your house. Why go through the hassle when a little homework ahead of time can save you from a big headache later?