MICAELA STANALAND | HOWARD HANNA | RAND REALTY
House hunting is no easy feat!
There are tons of factors that go into finding the perfect home. Many house hunters start the search for their next home by creating a criteria checklist with items such as number of bedrooms, square footage, amount of reno it needs, the size of the yard - the list truly goes on and on!
But what about starting your search with first finding the perfect neighborhood?
Here are 7 Tips on Finding Your Perfect Neighborhood:
Want to get a real sense of what a neighborhood is like? Go check it out at different times of the day and on different days of the week.
Midday on a weekday people are less likely to be home. This can make the neighborhood seem less quiet than it actually is.
On the flip side, try visiting the neighborhoods that you're scouting out during the weekend. This can give you an idea of how busy the neighborhood gets, and you may even have the opportunity to ask some neighbors about the area.
Bonus Tip: If you're considering moving into a condo development with unassigned or shared parking, visiting at different times of the day can also give you an idea of how easy/difficult it is to get a parking spot!
If your job requires you to head into the office or any location other than the cozy home office you may have made for yourself this past year and a half, make sure you check local drive times during your commuting hours.
In some areas, especially like where I live in the suburbs of NYC, the time of day you leave can make all the difference in how long it takes to get to work. Leaving at the wrong time and it could easily add an hour to your commute. Use our "drive time" search when in the Property Search page to check out your commute.
Rely on public transit? Ask your Realtor about commuter-friendly towns that have trains and/or bus stops close by.
If you have (or are planning on having!) school-aged kids, this is one you've probably already thought about.
There are a ton of websites that provide consumers with information on schools. You can see how certain school districts rank over others, find out staff qualifications, and even check out graduation rates for each district.
If you live in the Hudson Valley area and want to take a look for yourself, check out these sites for reports on New York State Education School Reports and New Jersey School Performance Reports.
You may fall in love with a house, but what about the things to do around it? If you're an outdoor enthusiast, you'll probably want to be in a neighborhood close to local trails or parks. Have a dog? Find out where the closest dog park is. Into water sports? Research what bodies of water are nearby that you may not know about.
In newly developed neighborhoods, you can probably hit a grocery store within 10-minutes. But when you start venturing out to older towns or neighborhoods in more rural areas, the closest grocery store can easily be nearly twice that distance.
Think about how important being close to a main drag or center of town is for you and anyone you may be moving with. When you think you've found your neighborhood, do a Google search for the closest shops and restaurants and decide if it's within the proximity you'd like to be in for those amenities.
Typical in condo and townhouse developments or even new construction neighborhoods, you'll want to decide if you're ok with purchasing your next home in a development that has a Homeowners Association (or HOA) fee.
Sometimes these fees can be minimal, and go towards costs for things such as road maintenance or use of common areas. Other times, HOA fees can be hundreds if not thousands of extra dollars per month.
If you find a neighborhood you like that has an HOA attached, check to see what the fee covers and if it deduces any of the extra fees or responsibilities you would otherwise have as a homeowner.
This one seems a little obvious, but it's one that a lot of buyers forget to look at before they go to purchase their next home.
When you find a neighborhood you like, look at what the average home has sold for in the past year, and then ask your Realtor how much that value has increased or decreased from the years before. This is especially important if you're only planning on staying at your new place for a few years opposed to it being a "forever home".
Live in or thinking about moving to the Hudson Valley? Check out Joe Rand's 2021 Q3 State of the Market for NY here!