Finding Your New Home

How to Choose a Neighborhood

Depending on your lifestyle, family and work life, there are different factors to take into consideration before choosing a neighborhood.

  • Get acquainted with the area. Visit the local services and businesses at daytime as well as at night. Also, visit the neighborhood on weekdays and weekends.
  • Visit the grocery store and see how well it’s stocked.
  • Is there a pharmacy, gas station, dry cleaner, public library, place of worship, parks, etc?
  • Check if any community events take place.
  • How early do the shops close?
  • What is the parking situation?
  • Do you have kids? If yes, then check whether the neighborhood is primarily a family or a single’s neighborhood. It’s important to consider the public schools in the area. Also, ensure that the district offers a lot of extracurricular activities for the children.
  • How far is the neighborhood from your work? Note: Most buyers check the new neighborhood during the middle of the day and therefore don’t get the real sense of making a drive at the rush hour. More distance means more commuting cost and more time on road. Also, consider the toll that long distances may take on your family, as a study by Umeå University in northern Sweden shows that long commutes can have a negative effect on relationships.
  • If you are planning to change your current job, be sure to check out the job prospects in or near the area.
  • If you are planning to change your current job, be sure to check out the job prospects in or near the area.
  • How are the property values in the area? Don’t just look at the current home values. Do a bit of research and see whether the value of your future neighbor’s homes have increased or decreased over the last 10 years.
  • Find out the crime statistics in the neighborhood. You can visit the local police station to get reliable information.
  • If you enjoy walking, check and see if the area has so-called “walk ability” by getting its walking score at Walk Score.
  • How far is this area from where most of your friends and family members live? It’s good to make new friends, but if you are new in the neighborhood and the friends you have live in the opposite part of the city, it can be stressful.
  • Look for warning signs. Does the area have any abandoned houses or buildings? Do you see a lot of ‘For Sale’ signs?
  • Will living in the area cost you more? Some areas have extra taxes either because the schools are better, or because the area is historic.
  • Talk to your future neighbors. Ask what they like about the area, their favorite hangout place, if there anything in the neighborhood that they don’t like, etc.