Before you start scrutinizing neighborhoods, think about what you're really looking for and do some preliminary research in finding a neighborhood that fits your description. You will probably have to make compromises, so put your "must-haves" at the top of your list and the "would- like-to-haves" at the bottom.Â Then consider the following:
Â· Do you have children or are you planning to have children anytime soon? Parents know that the first thing to do when looking at a neighborhood is to research the school system. Even if you're single, living in an area with a much sought-after school system raises your property value. If you have kids, you'll also want to live close to parks and community centers.
Â· What type of home do you want? Are you interested in a single-family home or an apartment, townhouse or co-op?
Â· How far are you willing to commute? Do you plan to drive, walk or take mass transit to work? Do you have a car or would you be willing to get one?
Â· Do you want to be in a historic neighborhood or a newer development? Historic neighborhoods have tons of character, but often require lots of repair work and are governed by community associations with strict standards. Newer developments have more modern features, but are typically far from the city center.
Â· What is your current community lacking? If you've always wanted to live on the waterfront, put that at the top of your list. If you're a coffee junkie, having a Starbucks down the street may be a dream come true.
Â· Do you want to be able to go places on foot? Would you like to be within walking or biking distance to shops, restaurants and bars? Or would you be willing to drive?
Â· Think about what you don't want in a neighborhood, too. If you can't stand late-night noise, you'll probably want to steer clear of the college area or an area with a lively bar scene.
By zeroing in on your preferences, this will give your real estate agent a good idea of Â homes to show you in your ideal neighborhood.