There are a lot of check boxes to be marked off when moving, and finding the right neighborhood is a huge factor in the decision process. Knowing the quality of a neighborhood can prove especially difficult if you have little intel (maybe you’re moving across the country or to a different country and can’t visit). At the end of the day, you’ll only love the house as much as you love the neighborhood. So this process shouldn’t be rushed!
The tricky part about searching for the right place is that the factors are different for everyone. It’s all about preference, so it’s important you know what you want.
So, what factors should you be considering in the first place? Here are a few key aspects of moving neighborhoods you shouldn’t overlook.
Did you know you can type in the name of a city plus “crime statistics by neighborhood” in a search engine to get information on neighborhood? You should be able to get at least a little information for most cities, especially if it’s a larger urban area. Don’t forget, different parts of the same town might be safer or dangerous, so do your research. Some go as far as to read crime reports in the local papers!
If you have children, this should be one of your first considerations. There are a lot of questions to ask yourself. How large are the classes? How well do the students perform on standardized tests? What is the graduation rate? In addition, look out for how close the school is to your ideal neighborhood, and if it’s a safe walking distance. There are tons of websites dedicated to sharing this information, which you can check out here.
If you’re planning to stay somewhere long-term, you’ll also want to look at future development. Unfortunately, this is something that’s often overlooked. But future development has a huge impact on taxes, traffic increases, etc, which could impact your day to day. Even if it’s not the best area at the moment, knowing it could be in a few years is comforting. You can find information on future development through your local Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking of taxes, this is another big factor in deciding where to move. They can vary a lot based on what city and area of the country you’re in. To get some intel on property taxes, reach out to a real estate agent what the current tax rate is and how much it’s increased within the last few years. Ask if they believe there will be another increase in the future, and what that amount might look like in the next few years. Then factor this into your moving budget.
Look to see what the houses are valued at in the neighborhood you’re looking at, and then use a real estate agent as a reference to compare that with the average value 5-10 years earlier. You’ll want to know how much the property has increased, and if the neighborhood has seen any drastic changes.
Commute Time / Public Transit
It’s easy to Google Maps two addresses to see how long it would take to get from home to work and vice versa. But as we all know, traffic can vary city to city, and 20 minutes could look like an hour in some parts of the country. Try to get as much info as you can on the traffic/commute, and also look to see how close public transit is to both locations should you need it.
If having a lot of local dining, shopping, gyms, etc is important to you, make sure to look at how affluent the area is.
For all of the factors listed above, we highly recommend getting involved in social media groups with those who live in the area. You can’t always trust what you read online, and having a first hand perspective from someone who lives there can give you insight a search engine can’t.
If you’re in the process of moving and need help navigating your mortgage, Ken Venick can help! Whether you’re looking to purchase a home, lower a rate on your current mortgage, or even looking to consolidate debt or do home improvements, we have you covered. Contact us online today or give us a call at (443) 471-4310.