Moving to a new house is a big deal! It is quite literally the beginning of a new phase of your life. The walls of each house tell a story, the story of the memories that you have created in that house. But let’s not forget that although finding the right house is important, finding a good neighborhood to stay in is a crucial decision as well. The neighborhood you stay in has a huge impact in shaping your life, nobody can deny that.
When you buy a house, it automatically translates to the fact that you are putting your money in the neighborhood. All the good and bad experiences you are going to have while living there mainly depend on how good your neighborhood is. If you plan to move to a new house and start a family, you must choose a good neighborhood. But how do you do that? It’s simple, let us tell you how to find a good neighborhood!
Ways to Find a Good Neighborhood
1. Evaluate What You Want
The wisest thing to do before investing in anything (be it buying a box of cookies or a house) is to introspect and know what you want accurately. How are you supposed to choose a neighborhood for yourself if you yourself don’t know what qualifies as a good neighborhood for you? Think about all the things you would like your neighborhood to have. Ask yourself multiple questions. For instance, you could ask,
- Do I need a daycare facility near my house?
- Do I want to stay on a busy street or a quieter street?
- Do I want my house to have several parks around it?
- Do I want my house to be close to shopping centers and restaurants?
- How accessible is the public transportation system from my house?
Don’t forget to take your family members’ preferences into account before you make any solid decisions. Once you know what you want for sure, you won’t face any confusion while searching for a good neighborhood.
2. Research is Key
The first step to finding a house in a good neighborhood is shortlisting the neighborhoods you might want to move to. You will have to awaken your inner Sherlock Holmes and do a little bit of sleuthing. It is impossible to know which neighborhoods are great without researching and collecting information by yourself.
If you are planning to move locally, you will most probably have multiple friends and family members who might know a lot about the surrounding neighborhoods. These people might be residing in different neighborhoods as well. All you have to do is strike up a conversation with them and make a tentative list of neighborhoods to move to. Their personal experiences will help you gain a perspective about whether those neighborhoods are suitable for you.
However, whether it’s a local or an interstate move, the best way to search for good neighborhoods is by going online. You will find several websites that list down the current best neighborhoods to stay in. For instance, if you wish to move to California, you could google search ‘best cities to start a family in California’. Once you find a desirable city (Pasadena for example), you could search for the ‘best neighborhoods to stay in Pasadena.
There are several websites like NeighborhoodScout that provide you with basic information that you should have about any neighborhood. Similarly, websites like StreetAdvisor provide you with reviews that are written by the people who reside in the neighborhood that you want to move to. You can even talk to the local real estate agents or search for neighborhood guides online.
Also Read: Best Moving Companies to Move Locally
3. Safety Come First
Safety is the first and foremost thing to consider while moving to a new area. If the neighborhood you are moving to isn’t safe, what is even the point of moving there? A good neighborhood will have low crime rates along with a community that is actively involved in crime prevention. You might wonder, how exactly do I get information on crime rates of a particular neighborhood? Let us tell you that your answer is just one click away from you.
All you have to do is search for crime rates in the neighborhood (of your choice) online. You will mostly get a detailed report on the local crime and the current crime stats for the place. You should know that getting a detailed crime report of urban areas is much easier than getting detailed information on crime in rural areas. Similarly, one town can have areas that are not so safe and areas/neighborhoods that are very safe.
The law-enforcement department is the most reliable source of getting information on the crime situation of a particular neighborhood. Visit the local police station of the neighborhood you want to move to. The police will happily supply you with detailed information regarding the crime rates of the neighborhood and tell you more about the type of community that resides there.
4. Will You be Able to Afford It?
The neighborhood that is the most suitable for you is also the affordable one. You cannot possibly move to a neighborhood without reading up on the cost of living there (unless you are super loaded). If money is a concern, just Google search – Neighborhoods in _ (city) with a low cost of living. If you have decided on a city or town, you can also search for the cheapest towns to move to before you search for affordable neighborhoods.
If you want to compare the cost of living between two places, you could always use CNN’s Cost of Living Calculator. This calculator helps you compare how much you would have to spend to live in two different cities. To add to that, the calculator gives you a detailed breakdown of the cost of living in each city as well.
Before you move, you must keep yourself updated about the taxes you will have to pay when you move to a particular neighborhood. If you are going for an interstate move, you will definitely witness a change in the sales tax and the income tax that you will be expected to pay to the state.
Read Also: Affordable Interstate Moving Companies
5. Amenities Matter
When you have grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores, bars, parks, gyms, etc., within a stone’s throw from your house, you can rest assured that you can live your life comfortably. However, keep in mind that having all these places around your house also means that your house is most probably situated on a busy and possibly a noisy street. If your neighborhood is a little bit isolated, be prepared to drive every time you need to buy something.
What type of neighborhood appeals to you depends on your needs and likes. You get to decide whether you like busy streets or streets that are super quiet. If living in a neighborhood that houses a tight-knit community appeals to you, don’t forget to check whether your new neighborhood has places of worship, community centers, parks, libraries, etc.
6. Education for Kids
Sometimes, couples move to a new place when they want to start a family. A neighborhood that has a lot of young families with kids is generally a good sign. This signifies that there must be some good schools in the local area. Having good schools near your house is very important because the future of the child depends on how much the child learns in a school.
Before you move to a neighborhood, read up on the reviews of the schools that are present in a neighborhood. To add to that, consider the distance between the school and your new house. Your life will be much more convenient if the school is near your house. The accessibility of the school is equally important.
Bonus: Read our Article on Moving with Kids – A Detailed Step-by-Step Guide
7. What about the Commute?
However good your neighborhood and the new house might be, living there doesn’t make sense if you get stuck in traffic and take 2 hours to reach anywhere (including your workplace). Before you move to any place, you should first examine where the new neighborhood is located. If the neighborhood is very isolated and far away from most of the places that you need to visit on a daily basis, maybe moving there isn’t a good idea.
You should also consider using online maps (Google Maps for instance) to determine the traffic patterns on the route of your commute. Ask yourself this, would you have to travel with or against the traffic? These maps will also show you an optional public transit route along with all the stops. We cannot stress enough how comfortable your life will be if the public transportation system is easily accessible from your house.
Apart from this, you will also get walkability scores on Google for your specific neighborhood. These scores indicate how safe and easy it is to walk through the neighborhood. Many websites are also known to show the bike score of the locality.
8. Take a Walk Around the Neighborhood
Most of us visit the new neighborhood once on the basis of which we make our decisions. However, it would be extremely wise to walk or drive around the neighborhood multiple times during the day and the week. The scene in the neighborhood would certainly change throughout the day and you might encounter different things depending on whether it’s a weekday or a weekend.
When you visit the neighborhood multiple times throughout the day, you will be able to observe the traffic patterns in the street. An added benefit of this would be that you will get an idea about when your prospective neighbors come out of their houses for work or to socialize. If people make eye contact with you or smile, you can rest assured that it is probably a friendly community.
9. A Chance of Future Development
When you visit a new neighborhood, drive around a little bit and look for dilapidated and abandoned properties, vacant houses, etc. These places could be subjected to commercial development which will definitely have an impact on the residents of that neighborhood. There might be a change in the housing value in that area. The streets might even become busier/or quieter due to development.
To add to that, you might even witness a change in the taxes that you have to pay while staying there. You should be aware of the prospects of the future development of a neighborhood so that there are no surprises later on. You can easily find information on all this by simply visiting the city hall or by getting in touch with the local Chamber of Commerce.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an ideal neighborhood?
An ideal neighborhood allows one to experience the charms of a small-town lifestyle and the perks of urban living. All the same, an ideal neighborhood should have a tight-knit community that comes to your aid whenever you are stuck in a sticky situation. A good neighborhood should ideally offer top-notch amenities, several opportunities to participate in recreational activities, good schools, and good accessibility to the public transport system. To add to that, low crime rates would be another indicator of an ideal neighborhood.
What makes a neighborhood attractive?
Neighborhoods that have a lot of trees, parks, and flowers planted along the sidewalk look very charming and pretty. A neighborhood would certainly look more attractive if there are comfortable benches with a good view (where the neighbors can socialize) and flattering lights that make the neighborhood look safe and welcoming even at night. Without all this, a neighborhood might look rather droll or even threatening.
How do you find good neighborhoods in a city?
It depends on what you’re looking for as a residential area. You may want to consider neighborhoods close to the jobs, schools, stores, and entertainment that you’ll be using most often. Location is not everything, though! Cities with plenty of outdoor recreation areas and pleasant natural scenery will likely have higher demand than those without such perks. If you’re unsure, select some locations out of your comfort zone, so explore all the possibilities – chances are good you’ll find an ideal neighborhood before long!
How do I decide where to raise my family?
Making good choices about where you live can be tricky, but there are some simple rules to follow to avoid spending too much of your time commuting. Having a good neighborhood is crucial to living high on the hog without breaking the bank. Look for neighborhoods that are more central or close to the main attractions in town, and remember that it may take a little sacrifice now with potential savings later.
What is a healthy neighborhood?
A healthy neighborhood is surrounded by safe and beautiful green spaces with plenty of trees and fresh vegetation. It also has clean neighborhoods, where residents care for their space and tend to the needs of others. People’s mental and physical health improves when they live in a thriving environment that feels like home, with neighbors who take an interest in each other’s well-being. A healthy neighborhood maintains the beauty of its surroundings while increasing people’s sense of safety and connection to their community.
What are the qualities of a bad community?
Crime, lack of park space, and amenities like grocery stores and restaurants. Poor schools with high dropout rates. High unemployment rates, even though we know, education can go a long way to improving those statistics, lacking transit options or access to jobs outside the public transit radius. Low-income housing that reflects its socioeconomic level.
Moving to a new place altogether is accompanied by a lot of anxiety. You would understandably not be sure about how welcoming your neighbors would be and it is difficult to predict beforehand how comfortable you would be while staying there.
Finding a good neighborhood for yourself doesn’t only mean that you try to get a complete understanding of the experience of staying in your new house. It also means that you find out more about the community and decide whether you would like to be a part of it. Trust us when we say this, finding a good neighborhood to stay in will certainly reduce the anxiety associated with a move.