Buying a home in the right location is more than just luck-it takes a lot of work! So how do you find the neighborhood that’s right for you? Follow our steps and you’ll be sure to find a location you love.
So, you’re about to buy a new home and you’re getting ready to jump right into the latest listings… Not so fast. You might find the perfect house, but if it isn’t in the perfect location, then you’re going to have some issues.
Lucky for you, we figured out the steps to help you find the neighborhood that’s right for you.
Make a wish list.
Yep, just like you did for your home, you should make a wish list for your ideal neighborhood. Does it have a park? Running trails? Several taco joints? A Starbucks? Think of what you wish your current neighborhood had and start from there. After all, this is where you’ll be spending a lot of time, so you want to make sure your community has everything you’re looking for. You’ll also want to consider how far you’re willing to drive to work, grocery stores, and other places that you’ll be visiting frequently.
Do your research.
It’s time to get to work. “I give my clients homework when they aren’t sure which community to focus on,” says realtor Mindi Kessenich. “Map out the commute to work, check out the parks and grocery store, etc.” Even if you don’t have kids, you’ll want to live in a good school district because it’ll raise the value of your home. For Wisconsin school districts, WISEdash is an excellent tool to compare public data. Consider crime rates, available transportation, and neighborhood associations in the area. What are the attractions in the area? Is the town a hot spot in the summer but a ghost town come winter? Figure out exactly what each neighborhood has to offer and compare them side-by-side. You want an area that will help maintain your house’s value.
Visit the area.
Take a walk or drive through the neighborhood and see how it feels. Don’t just visit your street, but check out the entire area. Smaller towns may have a unified feel, but larger cities might have a totally different culture on every block. Check out the area’s Chamber of Commerce website for community information and events, such as Madison’s Chamber of Commerce site. Think about the overall vibe- is it cozy and traditional or modern and hip? Ask the people you see or your potential neighbors how they like the area. Also take note of any warning signs, like abandoned buildings, tons of for-sale signs, loud traffic noise, or even bad smells.
Take your time.
This is a huge decision. Take some time to think about what you saw, but trust your gut. This is going to be your neighborhood for a long time and you want to feel at home wherever you choose. Visit the area multiple times and go at different hours of the day to see how the vibe might change-is there a lot of traffic during school pick-up time? Is the nightlife too loud? Go to local shops, restaurants, and the parks. Try to imagine yourself actually living there. If something is a small nuisance now, it will be ten times worse once you deal with it every day.
Begin your house hunt.
Once you’ve decided on a neighborhood, start to look for houses nearby. Make sure you have a vision of what it will look like and a realistic budget. Knowing exactly what you want will make the entire process much easier. Tell your realtor which neighborhoods you liked and didn’t like so they know where to show you houses. Be on the lookout for open houses in your desired areas and check frequently for new listings so you can jump on a good opportunity when it comes around!
You may think that finding the perfect home is all due to luck. Think again! The perfect home has just as much to do with the actual house as it does the location. Do the research, make a few trips, and you’ll be able to tell if the neighborhood is right for you.
Happy neighborhood hunting!
Perfect Neighborhood Guide by Elena
Mindi Kessenich Licensed Wisconsin REALTOR®
Author / Digital Coordinator / Photographer / Dog Lover