If you care as much about your neighborhood as you do your home (and many people do these days), there's only one way to be sure that your prospective community is a good fit for your circumstances and lifestyle: get away from your computer and get out of your car - and take a leisurely walk around the block. The fact of the matter is that many buyers don't spend enough time actually observing their (possibly) new surroundings from street level. Here are some tips from the article on what to look for as you walk around.
- If you're moving because your circumstances are changing (divorce, starting a family, downsizing, etc.), make sure you don't choose a neighborhood based on your old circumstances. That sounds obvious, but very often our mindset doesn't change as quickly as our lives.
- Don't go strictly by someone else's advice or commonly held assumptions. In the words of President Reagan, "Trust, but verify." If an area's crime rate is assumed to be low, confirm it by checking official records. If the area school is commonly held to be excellent, check it out on the record and visit the school to see for yourself.
- Be realistic about any sacrifices you may have to make - how long a commute can you really handle every day, how far are you really willing to walk your dog to get to a park, how much social interaction do you really need to be happy? Don't overestimate your tolerance for inconvenience because you're in love with the house.
- Observe and meet your prospective neighbors and analyze how the character of the neighborhood meets your priorities. Do you want a lot of children in the neighborhood? Do you want a wide range of restaurants and entertainment venues in the immediate area? Think about it while you walk and compare what you want with what you see.
Takeaway: Hopefully, you'll be living in your new neighborhood for a long time. Make sure the community fits your circumstances and lifestyle now and in the future.
Take a look on the right side of the blog site for a list of counties in Maryland that we have a a large library of information for each neighborhood with that county. Or try our real estate search engine and use the search by neighborhoods feature.