When it comes to finding the right neighborhood to buy a home, home buyers have so many factors that they need to put into consideration. It’s not enough to think about the housing market and return on investment; it’s the quality of life too. In fact, you could say that the neighborhood is going to have the biggest impact. After all, a lot goes into the quality of life for a household, and a major factor of that would be the neighborhood itself. So when it comes to home buyers, what are some of the factors that make a neighborhood more sought after than other neighborhoods? Here’s what you need to know!
The Character of the Neighborhood
It’s not just about buying a nice house; it’s also about buying an experience with all the surrounding characters that come with it. Some homebuyers will pay close attention to the type of businesses that are located in a neighborhood. For instance, if a neighborhood has a new artisan bakery or coffee shop, this might be a draw. Conversely, a neighborhood with a lot of vacant, boarded-up storefronts might turn off some buyers.
As a result, the number of new businesses in a neighborhood might be an indicator of future growth. It’s all about the neighbors too. There can be a gorgeous house for an unbelievable price, but if the neighbors have houses that are falling apart, animals on the loose, or lawns aren’t being taken care of, then this is going to scream bad character to the home buyers. Surroundings speak pretty loud, even for those who don’t live there; that’s why the character counts.
While luxury real estate tends to have incredible amenities, there is the expectation and desirability that even the most standard of neighborhoods also have nice ones too. These might include restaurants, convenience stores, public parks, and even shopping malls. Some people want to live near a town center with multiple entertainment options, while others are happy with a simpler lifestyle that offers quick access to groceries and services.
Simple experiences are sometimes more meaningful than elaborate ones, and they can communicate authenticity to a neighborhood. For example, a plaza that hosts music on weekends or a local brew pub can bring neighbors together and add energy to the community. To a degree, something like an HOA could be considered an amenity as these fees pay for maintenance, lawn care services, and even something like a neighborhood pool or golf course.
This is pretty obvious, but no matter what, this is always going to be a priority. One of the most basic human needs is to feel safe, so a neighborhood with low crime rates is very desirable for many home buyers. It’s far from ideal to have to worry about packages being stolen or robbers breaking into your home, or even assaults/ attacks while you’re out minding your own business.
While it’s not often thought about as a home buyer, once you’re a homeowner, this is going to take a lot of notice. Neighborhood noise isn’t always a deal breaker for home buyers, but it should be taken into consideration. Living next to a busy road can be noisy and annoying for residents, especially at night when the sound of traffic brakes or honking horns is inescapable. Airports can also be a major source of noise pollution.
Other sources include nearby sports arenas, music venues, and home machinery (like if a house next door runs a workshop). You could say the same for houses that live next to schools, parking lots, or even playgrounds too. But overall, noise can immensely destroy your experience and comfort.
Proximity to Schools
Depending on where you live (such as in the US), certain neighborhoods are assigned to certain school districts. Good schools are a must for families with kids. But they matter to buyers without kids, too, because school districts affect home values and make it easier to sell your home down the line. You obviously want your kid to go to the best public school that’s available, so this alone tends to make some neighborhoods incredibly competitive to move to.
The Commute to Work
It’s not just about the school that your kid goes to, but in order to pay off that mortgage, you’re obviously going to have to have a job. Obviously, you’re going to want to be able to have a short drive to work and, ideally, even accessible public transportation options as well, whether it be a bus stop, subway, metro, or even a tram. But in general, that commute counts, so the location will need to be convenient.
Parks and Playgrounds
It’s not always desirable, but for homebuyers with children or planning to have children, this tends to be an important one. Some home buyers prefer to have a local park or even a small playground nearby for children to play on. Plus, these areas are communal, too, such as for a neighborhood cookout or party.
Financial and Personal Value
At the end of the day, a house is meant to be an investment, an investment you want a nice return on. While not every neighborhood will forever stay incredible and in demand, there’s still that expectation, so it’s best to choose one that’s predicted to continuously become better rather than become worse. So, what’s the current value of the neighborhood?
The value of a neighborhood also depends on the local school system. If you have children, a good school district will help boost your home’s price and insulate you against market fluctuations. Likewise, a bad school district will drive down prices and make the neighborhood less desirable.
Even if you don’t have kids, you should research the local schools because they will affect your property taxes. You should also pay attention to a neighborhood’s future plans because they could impact the quality of life. For instance, a peaceful neighborhood with lots of trees could change if a new development is planned nearby, like a light rail station or shopping center. So, just keep in mind that value comes in so many different forms, so you have to think of the long term when it comes to value. What will be done to drive the value up or down?