Does Your Neighborhood Fit?

Image: Teeejayy

Does Your Neighborhood Fit?

Every home buyer has their own take on what neighborhood is right for them. Some home buyers may want historic charm, while others want a family-oriented, and some may want both. Cities such as West Sacramento, Davis, and Woodland each have their own unique neighborhoods offering a wealth of amenities and aesthetic beauty. Depending on your interests, you likely want to find a neighborhood that appeals to you and holds your personal values and tastes. For many people, the neighborhood is as important, if not more important than the home itself.

However, choosing the right neighborhood can be more difficult than actually choosing the home. While many of the neighborhoods highlights can be found out with a simple drive-around, other aspects will require a bit of digging.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of choosing a neighborhood:

You and Your Interests

Every neighborhood is different, and you have dozens of unique neighborhoods to choose from. So, when you are searching it only benefits you to choose a neighborhood that offers amenities based on your family’s needs and interests.

  • Children: Children play a big role in where you live. So, making decisions based on schools in the area. How close do you want to be to an elementary school or high school? Do the schools offer courses or extra-curricular activities for your children?
  • Types of homes: For many people, the type of home makes a difference. Do you prefer a home that is 100+ years old, or do you prefer to live in a newer home?
  • Like-minded neighbors; Do you want a quiet retirement neighborhood, one that is family-oriented, or a younger neighborhood, more vibrant neighborhood?
  • Parks and trails: If being outdoors means a lot to you, then a neighborhood with several parks and hiking or biking trails may be something you want to look for. In addition, are waterways, lakes, and rivers.
  • Special Interest Amenities: Another factor to consider is, does the area have interests more specific to your taste. For example, if you play tennis, is there a tennis club nearby? Do you enjoy going to the theater, or museum? Are you looking for a neighborhood with art galleries?

Image: Sebastian Sikora

Neighborhood Data

All cities publish information on each neighborhood and community. It is illegal for your real estate agent to offer advice, information, or suggestions on each neighborhood, or offer advice on what neighborhood would be better for you. However, this information is public and accessible to all home-buyers. Some data and statistics you may want to review are:

  • School information
  • Crime statistics
  • Park and recreational areas
  • Neighborhood associations
  • Tourist attractions, local attractions, and restaurants

Image: Joe Le Merou

The Drive-Thru

Driving through a potential neighborhood can provide you with a wealth of insight. What was your first impression when you drove through the neighborhood? Can you see you and your family living there? Does the neighborhood offer unique restaurants and services you would use? Does a rush hour or commute affect the neighborhood you choose? Do people smile and wave? Is it more congested than you expected, or is it too quiet for you?

Few things can help you determine a potentially new neighborhood better than driving through it at different times of the day.

Proximity

You will likely have to travel outside your neighborhood for a variety of reasons. Work, visiting family and friends, or recreational activities. How does the location fit with all these activities and are the neighborhood’s amenities good enough that you are willing to forego close proximity if need be?

Affordability

Lastly is affordability. Simply, can you afford to live in the neighborhood you want to live in? You should look at not only home prices, but also travel time, local taxes, utilities, and everyday prices. For example, depending on what grocery store you shop at, you may be paying a premium of 30% or more for the same item you might buy at a less expensive grocery store. You are more likely to shop at the closest store to you than driving twenty minutes down the road. These smaller purchases may not seem like something to look at now, but in a few months when you realize you are more willing to spend money than sit in traffic to get your food, you might second guess your initial thought on where you purchased your home.

-By The DeMasi Group