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How To Find The Right Neighborhood For You

Jim Luby

Licensed as an Illinois Real Estate Broker in 2000, Jim Luby primarily serves Chicago's North and Northwest Suburbs...

Licensed as an Illinois Real Estate Broker in 2000, Jim Luby primarily serves Chicago's North and Northwest Suburbs...

Jan 8 6 minutes read

It's not easy to choose the perfect neighborhood for you or your family. Let's face it, your neighborhood is just as important as your house. If you are not happy with your neighborhood it will eventually lead to you not being satisfied with your home. Do your research to determine what a neighborhood has to offer you. The greatest areas for families with children is not always the best place for a single person or empty nesters. This article will explain the things that you should be looking at in a neighborhood during the buying process.

LOCATION

Location is everything. Imagine living in an amazing area, but you work over 50 miles away. This will not leave you with much time to enjoy everything that your neighborhood has to offer considering you will be spending most of your time commuting to work. Even though there may be a great neighborhood available 50 miles away from work, that does not mean you need to consider that home unless you are able to work from home. Commuting can be overwhelming and will create a dissatisfaction to the home you purchased.

Location is a huge factor when it comes to the community and its amenities. If you live in a rural area, most amenities like gyms, retail stores, restaurants, will not likely be within walking distance. However, if you enjoy the space and separation of a rural area, this may work for you. Drive around the surrounding area to see everything that is in proximity. 

Pro Tip: Drive or walk around the areas you are researching. Make sure to take note of distances and time that it takes to get to some of the places you might visit often.

INTERVIEW THE LOCALS

Talking to locals in an area is a great way to see if you would enjoy it there. Locals will know the area best and can make you aware of the perks and issues. Most people love chatting about their neighborhood and where they live.

How can you get involved without physically going to every business or community center?  

Facebook. 

Join the local Facebook community group to get a vibe of the neighborhood.  You can even ask questions to get real feedback. Asking questions like:

1) I am moving to the area and curious to hear what some of you love about living here?
2) I am curious to hear about some of the changes you are hoping for in the near future?   3) What is something  that you would only know if you lived here?

Pro Tip: You can also Google: "living in <Neighborhood>". This will reveal many other forums or blogs that provide local insight.  

SCHOOLS

If you have kids at home then schools might be one of the most important factor for you. Is walk-ability important? Do you have children with special needs? Does the school size matter to you? The best advice we can give is to decide on the schools you enjoy first, and then begin looking for the neighborhoods around the school. 

Pro Tip: There are many online resources such as GreatSchools.org where you can look up schools and their ratings. Once you have decided on a school that you believe will be best for your family, visit the school.

PROPERTY VALUES

Property values play a huge role in choosing the right neighborhood. First and foremost, you need to choose a home that fits within your budget.  Also keep in mind that neighborhoods with high home values might also mean higher property taxes, which erodes affordability.

When choosing a home within a neighborhood, remember the old adage that tells you not to buy the most expensive home on the block.  Best to select a home which is in line with the values in that neighborhood.  

Pro Tip: Try not to purchase the most expensive home in the neighborhood. If the home value is above the average, it might appreciate slower or take longer to sell than those closer to the average.

PROPERTY TAXES

Taxes will vary by neighborhoods, and need to be considered when buying a home. Like we stated above with property values, areas that are appreciating in value might also see taxes that will rise faster. Many cities have specific times of the year where they reassess home values to ensure the local government is getting the proper amount of tax revenue to provide the city with services. Purchasing at the top of your budget can make the excitement of purchasing a home become a nightmare when all your other expenses roll in.

It is important to consider all the expenses that come along with owning a home. We can help you with any questions you have, so do not hesitate to give us a call. 

Pro Tip: Don't purchase a home at the top of your price range if the tax burden will overwhelm you. Keep in mind that taxes will likely go up more substantially in faster appreciating neighborhoods.  

SAFETY

While some consider safety to be the most important factor in a neighborhood, it's not something many buyers look at closely. You can speak with local officials and look at the local police reports to see what types of mischievous activities occur within a specific area. You can even use online resources like crime maps to get an idea of the crime rate in certain areas.

*Realtors cannot discuss criminal Activity With Clients

Pro Tip: Ring has a downloadable app called Neighbors that shows you the local incidents in an given area.

BOTTOM LINE

The neighborhood that you live in can have a greater impact on your satisfaction than the home itself. The right house in the wrong area will leave you unhappy in the long run. Research online, speak with locals, and drive around the surrounding area to determine the if the neighborhood is right for you and your family.

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