One of the most important things to take into consideration when buying a house is the location. The house might be perfect, but are you comfortable living in a neighborhood with a railroad in your backyard? Or how about sharing a street with a school? When it comes to home value, location is incredibly important. And when it comes to you enjoying your new home, location is equally important.
Choosing the right neighborhood is obviously important, but it can be just as hard as finding the right house. This is especially true because no single neighborhood is going to be right for everyone. That’s apparent from the variety of neighborhoods available in any given city, including Boise, Idaho. You need to find the neighborhood, and the house, that you can be happy in.
Picking Your Priorities
The first step to finding the right neighborhood for you is by picking your priorities. Unfortunately, you are seldom, if ever, going to be able to satisfy every check box on your wish list. Deciding on your needs and wants is important, as you are figuring out what you don’t want. You might care more about the size of the house and the fact that it has a big yard more than the neighborhood you live in. Or, you might care more about the neighborhood, and the amenities, than the size of the house.
Settling on your priorities gives you, and your real estate agent, a direction to look in. Often, your budget will limit where you can buy a house, so you’ll need to be prepared to make some compromises. Knowing what’s at the top of your priorities and wish list will help your real estate agent look at the right houses in the right places.
You are also going to want to think about the types of amenities that you would like to have. Are you looking for a swimming pool or a golf course? Perhaps you’d rather live farther away from people where you can have space and privacy. You are going to want to think about how you would like to interact with your future neighbors, and that will help you prioritize as well.
Kids or Not, Schools Matter
This is a no brainer if you have, or are planning to have, children. You’re going to want to have your house in a good school district. But even if you don’t have kids, you should be thinking about schools and school districts. There’s one simple reason for this: homes near good schools hold their value much better.
Sometimes, homes can even be worth $50 more per square foot than a home that isn’t near a good school. If you are going to be selling your home in the future, this will help protect your investment. Your real estate agent won’t be able to disclose any information about specific schools to you because of the Fair Housing Act, but there are plenty of websites that provide rankings.
Travel and Transportation
If you prefer to live in a more rural setting, where you won’t have close neighbors and you’ll have plenty of privacy, the commute probably isn’t going to bother you. However, you will want to take your commute and other transportation issues into consideration when looking at neighborhoods and houses. Your lifestyle will determine the type of neighborhood that you are going to want to live in.
You are going to want to take transportation and commutes into account for another reason as well. When you sell your house, the potential buyers are going to be thinking through the same process. Is the commute to work short? Can you walk to a local restaurant or shopping center? Unless this is the last home that you will ever buy, it never hurts to think about selling, even if it is just at the back of your mind.
When you first begin looking at different neighborhoods, the internet is a great resource. There are plenty of websites tailored specifically toward reviews and information on neighborhoods, cities, and even streets. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit the potential neighborhood. In fact, your best information and feel for the neighborhood will come directly from you visiting.
Pay attention to the sidewalks and houses. Are they maintained well? Visit the neighborhood at different times, day and night, throughout the week. Doing this will let you get a better feel for the neighborhood. Visiting multiple times will give you more realistic impression of what living there would be like. Of course, you should use your local real estate agent as well. They will have invaluable insight into market trends and neighborhoods.