Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Choosing the right neighborhood: A guide for first-time home buyers

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A house may have everything one needs, but is it located in the right neighborhood?

While an apartment in a chic, busy neighborhood might be perfect for a millennial with no dependents, a family with small children has different needs that have to be addressed.

Before starting a home search, home buyers should make a list of what they're looking for in a neighborhood. The following are some factors to consider:

Access and transportation

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Suburban communities are usually designed around a town center, where residents can shop, dine, and socialize, and its residents typically drive to work. Neighborhoods located near or in cities typically benefit from numerous public transit options.

The presence and proximity of grocery stores, banks, parks, and other amenities, and the cost of transportation to access them should be considered when choosing the right neighborhood.


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No one wants to live in an unsafe neighborhood. Home buyers should research online to determine a community's violent and property crime rates and compare the numbers with those of other communities. The local police department will also be able to provide valuable information on the safety of the area.


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A home buyer who has children or is planning to have children should consider homes near good schools. If a home is on the bus route, that translates to more convenience for both parents and children.

Proximity to top-ranked schools is important, whether or not the home buyer has or is planning to have children. A study has shown that people are willing to pay more for homes located near good schools, so buyers who are planning to sell their homes in the future would do well to invest in a home in this type of neighborhood.

Once home buyers have made a list of what they want in a neighborhood, they should consult with their realtor or real estate agent to help them find a home in a community where they can confidently put down roots.

Follow this Jeff Yarbrough Twitter account for discussions on home buying.