Your New Neighborhood Checklist

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

It's no secret that buying a property is one of the biggest and most important decisions you will make in your life. Property is so much more than merely bricks and mortar - it a huge asset, one that can easily have a lasting impact on your financial future. With that in mind, it's something you want to get right first time, as there is little room for mistakes. But all too often, people rush into a house sale (usually spurred on by the pressure of an ever-shifting market) and end up regretting their decision. A frequent reasoning behind this is that a lot of people view the houses independently of the neighborhood they are buying them in. Families, in particular, have a lot of specific requirements for their properties, and understandably so. If you have children, or if you have plans to expand your family, one thing you are going to need is a lot of room. Even if your kids currently share a bedroom, there will come a time at the start of their teenage years where they will need a little more privacy. So, having more rooms than you may originally have a use for can come in particularly handy in this scenario. Additionally, you may look specifically for a property with a large back yard, so your kids can play outside, or maybe you see some value in an attic conversion. Whatever your specifics are, it is always good to know what you want your dream property to look like. But that doesn't mean to say that you can completely bypass location and neighborhood too. In fact, it could be argued that you should look at the area before you even start looking for a house in that vicinity. The last thing you want is to find your dream home and move in, only to find that the neighborhood is unfriendly, dangerous or simply not to your liking. Here are a few hints and tips on how you can streamline your property search by knowing what to look for in a neighborhood.

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Crime rate

Visiting the internet to look at crime rates is always a tricky one. More often than not, you will come across various forums, all full of people talking about horror stories regarding crimes they were a victim of in any given area. While some of them may be true, it is important to try and remain reasonably impartial. Everywhere has good and bad in it, and people can often get easily carried away writing things online if they had a bad experience. Try and stay away from these types of websites and instead visit the archives of local police departments, which can give you a more factual viewpoint. Bear in mind that the types of crime will differ depending on how developed the area is. For example, if the place you have in mind is a relatively wealthy neighborhood, burglaries may be more common, but gun crime may be somewhat low. If you are still in any doubt, visit the neighborhood yourself in person at various times of day, and judge how safe you and your family would feel there.

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How walk able it is

Virtually every modern-day family has a car. It makes our lives a whole lot easier and allows us to get from A to B with minimal hassle on a daily basis. However, before you move somewhere new, you may also want to consider how comfortable the place is to access by foot. For example, if your children could walk to school, rather than you having to sit in early morning traffic with them for hours on end, that could be a huge benefit to your daily routine. It can also be incredibly useful to have a nearby store and a few restaurants all within walking distance of your home, so you don't always need to factor in taking the car and having to park up somewhere. Most of us can probably agree that we don't walk as much as we should, so try and find somewhere that doesn't always require you to have a car.

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Local infrastructure is good

The term 'infrastructure' tends to confuse a lot of homeowners, but it's something that is always worth looking into. It basically just means how well the area operates and how good the local services are. If the roads are clear and smooth, and the trash cans are emptied weekly without fail, it is a sign of good local infrastructure. If the local council is always carrying out unfinished building work and you can never get a good internet signal, these things are usually signs of bad infrastructure. Do some research online, but also visit the area yourself and speak to some locals. You may not learn about these things until after the move, which is a big risk to take, so it can help you out if you find them out beforehand.

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People seem friendly

Even though our relations with neighbors are not always as friendly as they used to be, it can still be worth the effort to see what the local crowd is like. This is especially important if you are moving far away from friends and family, as both you and your children will want to make some new friends. A good sign is if people are out on the street chatting and if the town center is busy and bustling. Look out for local noticeboards that advertise local events like fairs and festivals. If you can see plenty of examples of the local community coming together for events, you can pretty much guarantee that it is a friendly and sociable place to live. Also, make a note of the demographic of people who live there - the last thing you want is to accidentally move to town popular with retired seniors with three young children in tow! The neighborhood is integral to your happiness in your new home, so tick these boxes first before you start putting in any offers.

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