Find the Right Neighborhood for You

It’s easy to daydream about the perfect home. Most people spend time imagining their dream kitchen, the perfect backyard, or the thoughtful details that make a house feel like a home. But how do you make sure that your next home is in the right location for you? Below are a few tips we’ve compiled to consider when you are looking for the right neighborhood for your next home.

Make a Neighborhood Checklist

Is it important to you to live in a busy spot where there are a lot of things to do? Do you need to be close to an airport for work, or perhaps near public transportation? Do you have children? Is access to nature important? Make a list of the things that matter on a daily basis and rank them from most to least important.

A sample list might look like:

  1. Family friendly
  2. Access to walking/hiking trails
  3. Convenience – lots of stores, shops, and restaurants
  4. Not on a noisy street
  5. Gated community

This list will help you not only eliminate neighborhoods you probably wouldn’t be happy in but also to prioritize what’s most important first. Begin by researching neighborhoods that are known for your most important criteria. You could search for “neighborhoods with walking trails in St. Louis,” for example. Generally, someone has compiled a list or some resource to help guide you, like this one.

Find Neighborhoods that Meet Your Criteria

You can start compiling a list of neighborhoods that meet your first criteria. Your list should be as long as you can make it because you’ll narrow it down as you go through the list of important factors.

Do you have to commute to work or school? Using Google Maps, you can find the approximate distance from each of these neighborhoods to your office or school. Make a note of how long your commute would be each day. If there is a significant difference between two you like, it could be worth it in the long run to choose the closer neighborhood.

Keep Important Factors in Mind

Arguably, there are factors that will be important to finding your next home. To some, it might be how well the neighborhood fits with your lifestyle. For others, it might be about the cost of living or income potential. Property values and property tax rates are also important to factor in when you’re evaluating your home finances before you buy. Make sure you account for these in your list as well.

If you follow these few tips, chances are you’ll find the right neighborhood that checks your most important boxes. Once you’ve narrowed down to 1-3 neighborhoods, you can get a realtor to take you to homes in your price range in each area. It’s also a good idea to physically scout out the neighborhood. Over a weekend, drive through your top choices and get a sense of your surroundings. Are there enough amenities? Is the area accessible? Does it seem family friendly?

Do Your Research

A realtor can provide more information about the neighborhoods you choose, but be sure to do some research yourself. There are things realtors aren’t allowed to tell you, so be sure to do your due diligence. Sites like NeighborhoodScout help you search for areas by varying factors, including lifestyle, safety, and property appreciation rates.

Now go out there and find the right neighborhood for you!