Find­ing the right neigh­bor­hood part of buy­ing a home

Texarkana Gazette - - HOME & GARDEN - By Pat Set­ter

How will you know you’ve found the right home to pur­chase? It’s when you love both the house and the neigh­bor­hood it’s in. Find­ing the right neigh­bor­hood is one of the top home-buy­ing de­ci­sions you’ll make, be­cause you’ll never love your home if you don’t like the neigh­bor­hood.

To de­cide where you would like to live, you’ll need to do some soul-search­ing and some in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

Take a look at your life­style and make a list of what’s im­por­tant. Do you like to walk to get cof­fee in the morn­ing? What kind of leisure ac­tiv­i­ties do you en­joy? Do you like to get out­side and hike or do you pre­fer to head to a mu­seum or li­brary? Do you have chil­dren or are plan­ning on hav­ing them?

Once you have a list of pri­or­i­ties, it’s time to do some sleuthing to find out if a neigh­bor­hood fits your needs.

BUSI­NESSES

If you’re look­ing at a brand­new com­mu­nity, find out if there will be a gro­cery store nearby. What about restau­rants, cof­fee shops and gas sta­tions? How far away will they be and how long will it take to get there?

If walk­a­bil­ity is im­por­tant, see if the area has side­walks. If not, it’s prob­a­bly not a pedes­trian-friendly area. In a more es­tab­lished com­mu­nity, go to the area shop­ping cen­ters at dif­fer­ent times of the day to check out the crowds and ac­ces­si­bil­ity.

COM­MUTE TIMES

If you’re house hunt­ing on the week­ends, you won’t get a clear idea of what traf­fic is like when you need to get to and from work. Go at the hours you will be com­mut­ing to get a true pic­ture of the time it will take.

FU­TURE PLANS

Your plans and that of the com­mu­nity are both im­por­tant to con­sider. If you’re think­ing of start­ing a fam­ily, then you might want to con­sider an area that’s kid-friendly with lots of young fam­i­lies, parks and play­grounds. That se­cond-floor condo might not look as ap­peal­ing if you

need to get a stroller up there ev­ery day.

See what’s in store for the com­mu­nity at the plan­ning of­fice. Will that nearby open space turn into a big-box store? Is the de­vel­oper plan­ning an­other sub­di­vi­sion that will take away the quiet hill­side views? Nearby road ex­pan­sions could bring in a lot of traf­fic and noise. If you’re look­ing for a quiet neigh­bor­hood, make sure that it will stay that way.

SCHOOLS

Even if you don’t have schoolage chil­dren, buy­ing in a neigh­bor­hood with good schools is still ben­e­fi­cial. Good schools are good for the re­sale value of your home.

AMENI­TIES

Mas­ter-planned com­mu­ni­ties come with a wide range of recre­ational op­tions, from hik­ing trails to swim­ming pools and bar­be­cue ar­eas. See what’s avail­able and what you think you will use. If a neigh­bor­hood has ev­ery­thing from a rec cen­ter to swim­ming pools and a ten­nis court and you aren’t plan­ning on

us­ing any of it, you might want to con­sider a dif­fer­ent neigh­bor­hood. The more ameni­ties, the higher the home­owner as­so­ci­a­tion fees, and you don’t want to pay for things you don’t use.

NEIGH­BORS

Get out of the car and go for a walk dur­ing times when peo­ple are home. Stop, chat and ask ques­tions. You’ll get in­sid­ers’ in­for­ma­tion—and find out if they’re peo­ple you’d like to live next to.

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