Finding your first home is one of life's exciting yet nerve-wracking adventures. For first-time homebuyers, a first home is an excellent financial investment that offers an empty canvas of possibility. Yet what many forget with their first home purchase is that your home comes with a neighborhood. As you shop for your first home, you are also shopping for your first neighborhood, and you need to consider the location carefully.
Here are some considerations that can help you choose the right neighborhood when buying your first home.
Consider Your Style When Buying Your First Home
The right neighborhood for you will have a personality that matches your style. Do you like activity and noise or peace and quiet? Some people thrive in a vibrant, busy, active area, while others prefer their home environment to be calmer. Also, consider the architectural style that most appeals to you. Would you be more comfortable in an older or historic neighborhood, or are you drawn to a newly built home style?
Decide Your Most Important Features in a Home
Next, decide what features are most important to you. Do you want to live close to the parks? Do you need or want to be able to walk to the store? Would you prefer to live closer to your work or school, or can you handle a commute?
If you plan to use public transportation, determine if you need to live close to the bus or train stop. Make a list and prioritize it. If you can't find the perfect neighborhood, then focus on your top priorities.
Visit the Neighborhoods You Are Considering
Once you have narrowed down your options to a few neighborhoods, drive through them at different times of the day, not just when you tour a home. See what the neighborhood's vibe is during the day and after most people have returned home for the night. How busy is the street? Will the traffic patterns work for or against your commute?
Consider Future Needs
When buying your first home, you are likely thinking about your current needs primarily, but you should think about your future needs as well.
For example, if you do not currently have children but are considering starting a family someday, you will want a neighborhood with quality schools and parks. If you're currently a student, but will eventually be moving into your career, a location close to potential employers may be more helpful than a place close to school.
Lookup Property Taxes
Property taxes will vary from one city to the next, so if your home shopping radius includes multiple municipalities, this is a consideration to add to your list. If the taxes are much lower in one area than in another, you will save substantially by choosing the more affordable neighborhood.
Talk to Residents
Visit the neighborhood when people are out and about. A weekend, when neighbors are doing yard work. Strike up a conversation. People who love their neighborhood are happy to talk about it, especially to friendly potential new neighbors. This type of first-hand account can help you finalize your decision.
Buying your first home also means "buying" its neighborhood. It's important to find a community that is a good fit for your tastes, lifestyle, and needs. Take the time to do this research, and soon you will settle on a neighborhood that fits you well.
This content is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Individual circumstances and current events are critical to sound investment planning; anyone wishing to act on this information should consult with a financial professional. The information contained in these articles was obtained from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of publishing. We do not represent that it is accurate or complete, and it should not be relied upon as such. All opinions and estimates expressed in this article are as of publication date unless otherwise indicated, and are subject to change.