Where Do You Want to Live?

There are two ways to decide what you want in a house. One is to close your eyes and dream. The other is to open them and look around. A little of both may be the best advice for finding the home you want. Look beyond the elegant spiral staircase, the freshly laid carpeting, the kitchen space—or whatever catches your fancy in home design. First, look closely at the neighborhood to decide where you want to live.
Ask yourself: Is it safe? Accessible to work? Near good schools? Check out traffic and noise at different times of the day. Answering these questions and others like them will help you decide where to live. Furthermore, if you’re concerned that your home is a good investment, be sure to find out if property values are rising or falling in the neighborhood. The county assessor’s office or a real estate agent who knows the neighborhood should have the answer. Here’s a list of good questions to ask yourself:
Is the Traffic Heavy?
If you want privacy, have children, or just don’t like noise, you’ll want to know if the street where you may live is busy with traffic. While a street may seem quiet in the middle of the day, be sure to watch and listen during rush hour. Is it a through-way for traffic? Is it an alternate route for local commuters? What about airplane traffic? Is there a flight pattern right over the home you’re thinking of buying?
Can You Handle a Commute?
You may find a better deal on a home outside a city…but if you work in the city, will you be able to stand the longer commute? Take a dry run during your normal drive-time to see if you’re comfortable with the commute. If you’ll be taking public transportation, find out how often buses run, how long the routes take, and how far you’ll need to walk or drive to the bus stop.
What is the Community Like?
Glowing community profiles are available from many local Chambers of Commerce. Just ask them for a Resident’s Guide. These guides include information about income levels, taxes, schools, and other important factors. Another way to find out about the community is to look at an issue of a community newspaper online or at a local store or library. Reading it will tell you what issues are of concern to local residents.
Is it Near Good Schools?
For parents, little is more important than schools when choosing where to live. Feel free to schedule visits to schools, talk to the teachers, and ask neighbors for their opinions.
What Cultural and Religious Organizations Are Nearby?
To find out about local entertainment, cultural events, community happenings, and religious organizations, check the listings in the local newspaper and phone books. And find out what’s going on by scouring bulletin boards at local libraries, coffee shops, and similar gathering spots. In addition, the Internet can also be a useful tool in answering the questions above.