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Tips for Buyers on Choosing Their Next Neighborhood

September 15 2022

Have buyer clients that need clear strategies for choosing a new neighborhood? Share this article with them to help them learn how to narrow down the best area for their unique needs.

hdc choose neighborhood 1Deciding to move and buying a house can be a stressful, yet exciting process. One of the biggest decisions you'll make when beginning your home search is where you will live. After you decide on the location of your new home, it's time to pick your new neighborhood. Picking your new neighborhood can be tough, especially if you have a family. It's important choose the safest and most practical neighborhood with something for everyone!

Neighborhood Safety

The first and most important thing to consider when choosing your next neighborhood is the overall safety of the area. At Homes.com, we know the importance of safety, so we have created the "Scores" section on every listing details page of every home for sale or rent. 

On the "Scores" section, you can see the Walk Score, Sound Score, Transit Score, and Bike Score. 

How Walkable Is the Neighborhood?

hdc choose neighborhood 2To find the "Scores" section, go to any property listing details page and scroll past the "Transit" section. Once you get to the "Scores" section, you will see the Walk Score. The Walk Score tells you the walkability of the address and gives you a score out of 100. According to Walkscore.com, a score from 0-20 and 25-49 means Car-Dependent, 50-69 means Somewhat Walkable, 70-89 means Very Walkable, and 90-100 means Walker's Paradise. Even though a Walk Score below 59 seems low, if the score is between 25-49, your family may still be able to walk around the neighborhood, but you won't be able to run errands on foot. If you want an area that's more friendly to walkers, try to find a home in an area that has a walk score above 50.

How Loud Is It?

To learn about how loud your neighborhood will be, check the Sound Score. Below the Walk Score, you will see the Sound Score. The Sound Score tells you about the outside noise level at the address. The scale for the Sound Score is from 0 to 100. Zero is very loud, and 100 is very quiet. Getting a good night's rest, no matter who you are, is important, so if you are concerned about the sound near your home, it's best to choose a home with a sound score between 70 and 100.

Is There Transit Nearby?

To check on nearby transit for you and your family, check the Transit Score. You should see the Transit Score to the right of the Walk and Sound Score on the listing details page. The Transit Score tells you how close the address is to nearby public transit, and the scale is from 0 to 100. According to Walkscore.com, a score from 0-24 means Minimal Transit, 25-49 means Some Transit, 50-69 means Good Transit, 70-89 means Excellent Transit, and 90-100 means Rider's Paradise. Using public transit is not only an environmentally conscious decision, but it's a more affordable option than using a car every day. If you want to ensure that your new neighborhood has as many public transportation options as possible, pick a home that has a Transit Score above 50. 

Is It Safe to Ride a Bike?

hdc choose neighborhood 3To learn about how safe it is to ride bikes in the neighborhood, check out the Bike Score. The last part of the "Scores" section is the Bike Score section, located below Transit Score. According to Walkscore.com, the scale is 0 to 100. A score of 0-49 means Somewhat Bikeable, 50-69 means Bikeable, 70-89 means Very Bikeable, and 90-100 means Biker's Paradise. If you and your family enjoy riding your bikes together, you should look for a home with a Bike Score of at least 50 and above to ensure all of your rides are as safe as possible.  

Streetlights

Next, look around and see how many streetlights will be near your new home. At night, a few streetlights will help you and your family feel safer. If you see streetlights on your street but they don't come on at night, you might be required to pay a small monthly fee to your power company to keep the lights on. This sometimes occurs in areas outside the city limits.

Crime Rates

Finally, to get the best idea of the safety in your new neighborhood, you should check out the crime in the area. On City Protect, you can check out the nearest law enforcement agencies and see the incidents happening near the neighborhood. You can also sign up for incident updates to always be in the know and protect your family.

Commute to Work

Another big consideration you need to make before choosing your next neighborhood is your daily commute to work. You may find a neighborhood you love, but the commute may be over an hour to and from, and that commute could be even longer depending on traffic. Therefore, you should put the home and work addresses into Google Maps to see how long the commute will be. If the commute seems too far, you should pick a neighborhood closer to work. 

Schools

If you have kids, you'll likely want to check out the schools in the neighborhood you are considering. We have created the "Schools" section on every listing details page. The "Schools" section is below the "Request a Tour" section. Typically, each listing has four schools listed. With each school, you will learn its score out of 10, whether it's elementary, middle, or high school, if the school is public, private, or charter, and how long of a car ride or walk it is from that address. Homes.com gets their school's scores from greatschools.org. Greatschools.org is a website where you can search by the address or name of the school and check out the overall ranking of schools and their test scores. By learning the most about the schools in the area, you can be sure that you are sending your children to the best schools available.

Amenities Nearby

hdc choose neighborhood 4You might also want to consider the amenities you would like your neighborhood to have, whether it's a park, pool, gym, or restaurant. Determine what kind of amenities would be best for you and your family to enjoy. To find out more about your new neighborhood's amenities, scroll down to the "Parks and Recreation" section or the "Property Details" section on the listing details page. Having these amenities is fun for the whole family and a great resource when making new friends in your neighborhood.  

Engagement

Speaking of making new friends, you may want to consider the engagement of your neighborhood. Some neighborhoods host group events such as block parties around the holidays. If you and your family enjoy these types of activities, then try and find a neighborhood with a community that engages with one another. Most neighbors that have a lot of engagement usually have an HOA. An HOA is a homeowners' association that charges monthly fees to residents to maintain the neighborhood and keep engagement high. To learn more about HOAs, check out our article, What Is an HOA, or Homeowners Association?

Hopefully now you know how to pick the safest and most comfortable neighborhood for you and your family. And if you ever get stuck, Homes.com is here with our Search feature to help you find the perfect home!

To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.