Buying in the right neighborhood can be just as important as picking the perfect home. Although people have personal preferences regarding a community – urban, suburban, rural, historic, ethnic or retirement – the features within each can make a neighborhood great.
Here are six features common to great neighborhoods.
If the homes are neat and in good repair, with yards landscaped, the neighborhood’s residents take pride in ownership. Such an environment helps houses keep their value. Although one unkempt home is unlikely to undermine the whole locale, you could have a problem if the bad apple is next to you and you want to sell. One way to avoid that is to find a home with a homeowners association (HOA) that strives to ensure community spaces stay maintained.
Check the safety of a neighborhood by researching the neighborhood crime rate. This is especially important if you’re considering an up-and-coming community, an urban zone or a more affordable area. If the crime rate has traditionally been low, and still is, you can feel secure. A declining crime rate is also good. This often happens in transitional neighborhoods on their way to becoming great.
3. Top schools
If you have school-age children, being in a good school district is a major plus. That magnet means you’ll be near other families with kids. And with a school that rates highly, nearby homes’ value will often rise. Forty-six percent of Millennials, for example, site a great school district as crucial when looking for a home.1
4. Sense of community
Clean sidewalks, dedicated bike paths, tree-lined streets, public spaces and central parks encourage people to get outside and connect with each other. A great neighborhood uses those appealing amenities to foster social activities and community involvement. Festivals, block parties, art exhibits, farmers markets and outdoor concerts are par for the course in top locales.
5. Shops, restaurants, hot spots
Shopping centers, restaurants, entertainment venues, and other meeting places make a neighborhood more dynamic and attracts new people. Without such amenities, you might feel as if something’s missing. If you seek a community with plenty of services and want to get in while it’s still affordable, look for a Starbucks, often a positive harbinger of times to come.
6. Easy access
Great neighborhoods have organized streets that are drivable, walkable and safe for bicyclists. This makes getting in, out and around them easy – and even fun – for residents and visitors.
The community in which you live contributes as much to your daily life as the home you choose. Whether you wish to spend your free time in a downtown urban area, a family-friendly suburb or a rural enclave, you’ll want to live in a safe place and one with rising home prices – characteristics of great neighborhoods.
Published Feb. 28, 2017
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