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How to Choose a Neighborhood

There is always so much fuss and helpful advice regarding house shopping, but what about the neighborhood? Isn’t this ultimately more important? Would you rather have your dream home, but live next door to a house with seven kids, two of which are teenagers who blast music when their parents aren’t home, or could you deal with closets that are a bit smaller for the last house on a quiet dead end street? People put so much effort into shopping for a home that they forget that the neighborhood is just as important. Before you book your small apartment movers, do your homework.


List Your Requirements

What are you looking for in a neighborhood? Do you prefer there to be an abundance of kids for your own children to play with? Should there be a park within walking distance? Would you feel more comfortable if there are sidewalks throughout so you don’t have to walk your dog on the road? Maybe you work at home and a quiet neighborhood is your top concern. Is there a noise ordinance?

You also need to evaluate how far you are willing to drive back and forth. Is there a specific school district you want to be in? Do you prefer that there be nearby grocery stores or a downtown area that you can travel to by foot if your spouse has the car?

Take a look at what you like and dislike about your current neighborhood, and use these points to create your list.


Focus on an Area

If you are making a long distance move, you may want to get out a map and draw a circle around an ideal area, based on where you will work, schools you are interested in, etc. If you are staying in the same city, there is a good chance that you already have an idea as to which area you want to be in, now you simply need to narrow down the neighborhood.


Do a Little Digging

Once you have a few neighborhoods or, at least, an area in mind, you need to do a little digging. You can easily find crime statistics based on zip code online or from your realtor. You may need to find out if the community you are looking at has any restrictions. For example, one neighborhood may not allow you to park a boat in the driveway while another might not permit motorcycles.

If you have children, you might want to physically visit schools, if possible. Otherwise, you can find pretty much everything you need to know online.


Visit the Neighborhood

You can’t really get the full feel for a neighborhood until you drive through a few times. Ideally, you will visit at different times of the day during the week and weekend. You could drive through at 2 pm and it may seem quiet, but when school lets out, it could become chaotic.

Driving through around 11 pm on a Saturday night might give you a good idea if there are parties with loud music or a lot of foot traffic that may make you feel uneasy.

If there is a park or somewhere you can park your car, go ahead and take a walk. Are there loose dogs? Are people out working on their lawn? If so, are they friendly? Go ahead and ask them how they like the neighborhood. Are there a lot of houses for sale or abandoned ones with overgrown grass? There could be a reason why everyone is eager to leave.


Narrow it Down

Ideally, you will have a few neighborhoods to choose from if you need a house fairly quickly. If there is one neighborhood that you simply must live in, you will need to be willing to compromise a little when it comes to the house. Alternatively, if you are not in a huge hurry, then you can just watch the market, and wait for the perfect house to become available in your ideal neighborhood. When you are ready, book your small apartment movers and start packing!