Over time, your current neighborhood has become your beloved stomping ground. You love that little restaurant on the corner. You have a go-to coffee shop, convenience store and bar. You wave hello at your neighbors when you see them walking their dogs. It’s second nature to move your car to the opposite side of the road on street sweeping days.
But despite the familiarity, something tells you it’s time to move on—it could be a new job, major financial upheaval, a new family member, a change in your neighborhood itself or just the itch for new scenery. Here are five things to consider before moving to a new neighborhood so you can make sure it’s a great fit.
Whether you enjoy the cost effectiveness of riding public transportation or prefer the convenience of your own car, you have to size up accessibility for any potential new locale. Which trains and busses service the neighborhood? How close is it to a major highway? And, perhaps most importantly, how close is the new neighborhood to your place of employment? Buying or renting a home in a location that makes you feel cut off from the rest of the world is generally a risky endeavor; instead, looking for a place with plentiful transportation options.
Hobbies and Entertainment
Are you a baseball fanatic who roots for the home team? Can you be found in the front row of a rock show most weekends? Are you an avid yogi who likes to take four classes a week at a local studio? Do you like to buy all your produce at local farmer’s markets after traveling there on foot? Although these pursuits seem strictly optional, they really make us who we are at heart. Living somewhere that’s conducive to our hobbies tends to be important, so be sure to scout out shopping, health and social spots in any potential neighborhood before you pack up and move.
If you ask a longtime resident about various neighborhoods, they’ll probably be able to present you with a solid rundown of various neighborhoods’ reputations. It’s important to pick a neighborhood that’s in line with your lifestyle—but even more important to avoid one that isn’t. As HGTV writes, “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.”
Your budget will be the determining factor on where you move. Besides browsing real estate sites for local listing prices, there are a few other factors to consider here. For instance, did you know that insurance rates can vary by neighborhood? It’s true. According to Consumers’ Checkbook, a nonprofit consumer organization, “Insurance companies divide areas into territories and assign rates based on the losses companies experience in each territory and such factors as the quality of police and fire departments, incidence of crime, and general level of maintenance of the housing stock.” To avoid financial surprises, get a homeowners insurance quote online for any home you’re seriously considering.
Even if the listing price for a home seems reasonable, do your due diligence in adding up the actual costs of living in that area, from permit parking to neighborhood association fees and property taxes. That way, you can make an informed decision on whether to stay or go.
Fun fact: the national private average lawn size is one-fifth of an acre. To city folk, that may sound luxurious. To suburban dwellers, that may sound stifling. And for residents of the country, well, that’s barely the size of their garden! If you know you love your outdoor space, consider a neighborhood with a little breathing room between adjacent lots. You may pay more, but you’ll be able to host cookouts, plant seasonal flowers and enjoy the fresh air daily.
You have plenty to think about with these five things to consider before moving to a new neighborhood (and many more on top of that). Before you uproot, make sure it’s the right decision financially, personally and logistically.