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Neighborhood Choices and Home Shopping Essentials

Neighborhood Choices and Home Shopping Essentials

You have your eye on a fixer-upper in a neighborhood known for its pricey homes, excellent schools and convenience to shopping. Perhaps the greatest unknown for you here is just how much money you will need to sink into this home to make it livable and marketable.

On the other end of the spectrum is the home that is in pristine condition, located in a neighborhood that may not be so spectacular. It isn’t that the neighborhood is in deep decline, but there are one or more factors present that make it a less than ideal place to live.

When it comes to neighborhood choices, the following home shopping essentials should be kept in mind:

The Neighborhood

You can’t imagine living someplace where drugs are traded or other crimes are a factor. What you might have a hard time seeing are some other factors that can take the sheen off of a home’s glitter.

Those factors include the undeveloped property behind your home. Right now, it is overrun with hardwood trees, but it is zoned commercial. Worse, it is zoned for manufacturing, which means that a loud assembly plant may one day border your property. Before you buy, learn what changes are in store for your neighborhood, zoning updates that just may downgrade your property’s value.

Local Schools

You are buying into a community that has a reputation for superior public schools. Schools alone can make or break any neighborhood, but what you don’t realize is that your kids will be bussed completely across the country to fill vacancies in a new school.

While county-wide schools can still provide an excellent education and favorably impact home values, the distance it can take to get to school may adversely impact your neighborhood. So-called neighborhood schools are the ideal, especially those schools that can be reached on foot or by a short drive.

Work Access

The neighborhood is new, the streets are in excellent shape and the homes are evenly spaced up and down the road. Most homes are located on cul-de-sacs or streets where traffic is very light.

Unfortunately, the development you are considering is off the beaten path. To reach it, you must leave the interstate, drive five miles down a busy road with traffic lights every half-mile, before exiting into your development. Your home just so happens to be at the very back of that development, requiring you to stop at six controlled intersections along the way.

The commute is a big deal for many home buyers today especially as gas prices push up. Consider how long it takes to get from your home to work — you will be taking this trip five times each week and both ways.

Leisure Activities

Even if the home that you are considering is convenient to schools and work, there is another matter to weigh: proximity to the things that you enjoy doing. Figure that when you are not at work, you will be home or planning to go out to enjoy yourself.

Big on everyone’s list is a home’s proximity to stores. You will want access to a supermarket as well as to malls, movie theaters and sporting facilities. Museums, playhouses, restaurants, parks, bike trails, children’s play areas and even dog parks can make a difference for many home buyers.

Home Shopping

So, how do you choose a neighborhood? By reading up on it and learning if certain zoning changes will have an impact on where you want to live. You should also visit the neighborhood, park your call, walk the streets and talk with neighbors. Get a feel for the neighborhood at different times of the day and week. Measure the neighborhood’s proximity to schools, work and leisure pursuits, to discover if that area is right for you.

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