Finding your dream home means finding the dream neighborhood — easier said than done, especially if you’re moving to a new area and can’t distinguish one 'hood from another.
How can you tell if your neighbors are friendly, and why should you care about good schools? Here are 5 things to look for:
1. Rising Home Prices (Bay Area buyers can check this one off!)
Climbing home values is one of the best markers of a great neighborhood. But if home prices are going up across the country, what constitutes a good growth rate? The median price of existing single-family homes hit $232,100 in the first quarter of the year, up 6.9% from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. With that in mind, consider a place where home values are increasing at a faster rate than the national average.
2. Growing Household Incomes $$$
There are advantages to living in a neighborhood with healthy household incomes. Mainly, when homeowners earn more money, they can afford to make more renovations to their house, which in turn boosts home prices for the neighborhood as a whole.
3. Diversity is GOOD
State and federal Fair Housing laws impose restrictions on what real estate agents can and can’t say when working with homebuyers. One thing they can’t comment on is a neighborhood’s demographics. If that information is important to you, a simple Google search within the new zip code(e.g., “Synagogues in Lafayette” or “Latino cultural centers near me”) can help you assess whether there’s a significant presence of a particular community.
4. Awesome Schools
Even if you don’t have kids, schools significantly affect a home’s value for years to come. There’s no shortage of school ratings online. GreatSchools.org, for instance, compares test results for all schools in the state. To get a more comprehensive picture of a school district, look at graduation and college admission rates, and if you’re truly committed to finding a neighborhood with great public education, go to see schools in person.
5. Neighborly Neighbors
Unless you’re OK living in a bedroom community (as in, where residents simply eat and sleep), you’ll want to find a place where neighbors interact. Google whether the town organizes community events, like a farmer’s market, Labor Day parade or Halloween events.
hi! i'm leslie.
i'm a wife, mother of two boys, third-generation realtor, clinical psychologist. ('cause, you know, that helps sometimes...)
(oh, and here's my website)