8 Things to Look for in a Neighborhood Before Buying a Home

Happy family is riding bikes outdoors and smiling. Parents are teaching their children. Mom and daughter in the foreground

Ready to buy a house? Great! You’re going to be weighing a lot of competing concerns, like a chef’s kitchen versus a huge backyard, or a new, trouble-free Ranch versus an old Victorian with character.

The three top concerns when buying are location, location and location. But, often buyers miss the most important aspect of location: the neighborhood. Living in a great house in the wrong neighborhood can turn out to be a miserable experience that you can avoid.

The team at Realty Network Group, known for connecting buyers and sellers in NEPA, recommends that you visualize yourself in any neighborhood you’re considering. Think about what you enjoy and whether the community supports that. Like to swim? Check out the neighborhood pool. Love books? Make sure there’s a library nearby.

Here are 8 more items to put on your list:

1. Peruse the crime stats. You may be visiting in the middle of a workday, but the ambiance might be quite different at night or on a weekend. Check the statistics and make sure you’re not putting your family in harm’s way.

2. Note if people are out and about. No one wants to move into a ghost town. Safe neighborhoods require neighbors who are outside. Expect to see people jogging, walking their dogs and interacting with their neighbors.

3. Check out the schools. Okay, you knew this, and you knew you could check the performance of your neighborhood schools at GreatSchools.org. Here’s something you hadn’t considered: is the house you’re looking at so close to a school that 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. traffic will prevent you from leaving home, returning, or getting around your neighborhood?

4. Determine the ratio of owners versus renters. People take better care of homes they own than those they rent. Real estate agents know owner-occupied neighborhoods tend to be the most stable.

5. Find the center of town. Is anything that you would want access to within walking distance of your house? Can you easily and quickly reach shopping, cafés, restaurants, a bakery, hardware store and other services you might use regularly? Neighborhoods with public space in which people congregate offer a defined sense of place.

6. Locate the parks. No matter how big or small your yard, communal green space is a place for neighborhood events and your kids to blow off steam.

7. Don’t forget about the grocery store. Living in a food desert is inconvenient at the very least. Make sure a full-service supermarket is easily accessible. Hour-long treks every other day for milk, bread and other staples gets old quick.

8. Think hard about the commute. Buyers often vastly under-estimate the real costs – in money, time and disruption – of long commutes to and from work. It’s not just gas: the toll on your car and on your nerves, the time spent unproductively in traffic, and the missed time with your family can all be draining, both to your bank account and your enjoyment of life. Make sure you take it all into account.

The agents at Realty Network Group know how important their expertise is to homebuyers. Rely on them make to your real estate experience as smooth as possible. Visit RealtyNetwork.net or call 570-585-6880 today.