X is for “X Marks the Spot”

In First-Time Buyers by Doug Phelps

Sometimes, looking for your ideal neighborhood is like searching for that elusive “X” on a treasure map. Here are some things to consider when looking for the perfect location for your new home.

Know Your Budget

Make sure you know what you can qualify for and your budget is before you start shopping around. This will save you the heartache of finding an ideal neighborhood and house you simply can’t afford. Your real estate agent will also be able to help you what neighborhoods are the best bet financially.

Know What to Ask

Make a list of the needs and wants that matter the most to you in a potential neighborhood and use that to ask the right questions about any location you consider. You might want to know how busy the streets are or how close the schools are. You might be interested in walkability, community amenities, or proximity to shopping and restaurants. You may want to ask if the neighborhood is older or a new development, and if the community is tight-knit. Whatever things matters most to you, make sure you keep track.

Don’t Be Afraid to Explore

This is where you are potentially putting down roots and be the basecamp for you and your family’s lives. Don’t be afraid to drive around and get a lay of the land. Walk around the neighborhood and maybe even talk to your potential neighbors. Get a sense of the flavor of the area and if you think it’s a good fit.

Do your Research

The internet can be your friend. Look into local crime rates. Check out reviews of the schools in the area. Look up public transportation routes and map your commute time.

Look to the Future

Don’t just consider what a potential neighborhood has to offer right now but think about what might develop over time. Compare the value of houses to five or ten years before and see if that can’t help you determine where the value might be in another ten years. Look for vacant lots or any signs of future development. This can affect everything from traffic to taxes. You may even want to look at property taxes and try and determine whether an increase is on the horizon.