Making a Move? How to Choose the Right Neighborhood

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Searching for a new house for is an exciting experience for prospective home buyers. Although price range and family size are usually the first step in determining the ideal home, the location of the new home has a much bigger impact on your lifestyle. Selecting the right neighborhood to meet your needs will improve your quality of life, and it is one very important element of your home that you cannot change. Here are a few things to consider when determining how to choose the right neighborhood to meet your needs:

Think long term. Will this neighborhood meet your long term needs? If not, will you see enough of an appreciation on your investment to be able to upgrade in the near future? Consider whether your family will be expanding or downsizing as a result of kids going away to school. Make sure the size of the home will accommodate your plans for the future. Families need to ask questions about the schools in in area. Be sure to verify the boundaries of each district. There is plenty of information available online that will tell you how different schools rank, what options kids will have as they move into higher grades, and any future plans for the educational facilities in the area.

Does this area suit your lifestyle? Active households may be drawn to communities that offer recreational facilities and conservation areas. Familiarize yourself with the parks and walking trails in the area. Social buyers need to consider the proximity to restaurants and other nightlife. Proximity to public transportation may be an important factor as well.

Property taxes can vary by neighborhood, so it is a good idea to know what to expect so that you can plan your monthly budget ahead of time. Knowing your annual tax expenses is as important as knowing what your mortgage payments will be. Many sellers are also happy to provide copies of utility bills as well, so you can get an idea of the operating costs of the home.

Time is money. Knowing exactly how long your commute to work will be is a very important consideration when choosing the ideal neighborhood. Take into consideration the cost of fuel, time spent in traffic, tolls and any other challenges or advantages that you can anticipate. The average commuter spends over $2000 per year on gas, so moving closer to work can almost be like giving yourself a raise.

Educate yourself on the neighborhood’s crime statistics. Make sure you are well aware of any risks associated with the area, and check police reports in the local newspaper. Sometimes buyers, who are unfamiliar with an area, will make a quick decision because a home as an attractive price tag, without taking the time to understand any potential risks associated with living in the area. An unsafe neighborhood puts you and your personal property at risk and may also result in expensive insurance premiums.

Consider the proximity to retail and essential services. Having grocery stores, gas stations and other retail services nearby can lend itself to time savings and convenience. If you are planning a relocation to an unfamiliar neighborhood, don’t forget to dedicate time to checking out what is available nearby.
Although price is usually the first consideration when choosing a new home, be sure to focus on the neighborhood, as much as the house itself, when planning your move. There are so many elements of your home that can be changed to suit your personal style, but you cannot change your surroundings. As questions, do your research, and make sure that once you are unpacked and settled in, your new neighborhood will compliment your lifestyle just as much as your home.

For more information about homes for sale in Brentwood, Antioch, Walnut Creek, Oakland and other cities in the Bay Area; call Victor Olabintan – California Property Brokers – Your Premier Bay Area Realtor/Broker at (925) 260-5297 and visit our website.

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