How to Answer “What Neighborhood Should I Live In?”

The Scoop for Buyers

Where you live affects everything about your lifestyle. Every. Single. Day.

Read the above statement again and let it sink in.

Why? Because finding a location that matches your wants and needs is so critical to your happiness in your home and in your daily life.

Think about this …

you can always change or alter something you don’t like about a particular home.  You can paint over some god-awful color in the bedroom, upgrade a kitchen with new stainless appliances, or even budget for large family room addition.

What you can’t do is change the location!

You may love everything about your home. But if  you are frustrated with your neighborhood or it doesn’t fit with who you are or who you want to be, then you aren’t going to be satisfied, ever.

You could find a similar neighborhood with the same feel and conveniences of a favorite neighborhood, and it could be more in line with your price range.

That is why not limiting yourself and doing research on neighborhoods is worth your time. Before you start house hunting. There could be a hidden gem just for you!

First we will cover how you can research various neighborhoods. Then I will give you guidance on figuring out what characteristics you most want in a neighborhood or location.

Your list of “wants, needs & musts” is what should drive your search for a home and compatible neighborhoods.

Neighborhood Research 101

If you’re ready to buy a home, schedule some time to gather as much information you can on different neighborhoods. Don’t cancel out certain areas. You might be surprised how compatible they are to your lifestyle and budget. 

Do Some Foot Work 

Never limit your research to the internet. You should also do some research on foot and face-to-face.

Ask friends, family or colleagues about neighborhoods they like, have heard about or live in.

Talk to people who live the different neighborhoods you are considering.  What do they like?  How do their lifestyles or daily habits compare to yours? There are lots of choices so be adventurous and use these personal contacts!

Plan to visit friends, family, colleagues and see their neighborhoods in person.

Meet them for lunch or dinner, walk around, visit stores. You’ll get a better feel for the atmosphere and amenities of the area. You should get honest and direct answers about schools, crime, traffic, parking etc.

Drive around the neighborhood

Drive around both day and night, rush hour and weekends. See how the neighborhood works and functions on a daily basis.

Subscribe to neighborhood news

Find out from your contacts if their neighborhood has an online community space and sign up!  Whether it is via email, Facebook, NextDoor, you’ll be able to monitor posts. These can give you an inside look at a particular location. Things like events, activities, a sense of the community feel, and any ongoing concerns by neighbors.

Let Your Fingers Do the Walking

The internet makes it very easy and convenient to get information on different neighborhoods.

This site gives a great overview of metro neighborhoods 

San Diego Magazine – A Quick and Easy Guide to 17 San Diego Neighborhoods:

Look into the neighborhood BID (Business Improvement District).

Many of them have weekly e-newsletters. A BID provides addresses cleanliness, maintenance, safety, promotion, and economic development of certain neighborhoods.  Here is some information on San Diego BIDs.

Why Neighborhoods Matter

It’s the little daily habits that can make a big difference in loving where you live. A certain neighborhood may not match what you love to do every day or even need to do every day. Why frustrate yourself from the get-go?

Determine what you like most about your day.

Really consider what you do and don’t like about your current neighborhood. Write it ALL down. Keeping asking and answering questions such as these:

  • Love going to your local coffee house every day? Do you like to go for runs outside? Need to walk your dog or live near a dog park?
  • Do you want to be near work and have a short commute?
  • Love to be near restaurants, theaters, or close to more vibrant hot spots? Hate crowds, busy streets and traffic?
  • How important is a car and/or parking space to you? Want a car-free life where you can walk, metro or bike everywhere? Or you can’t imagine your life without a car.
  • Is community important to you or schools, recreation centers or park space?
  • Do you feel the need for green space, grass, trees and lots of open space? Love to garden or want a large backyard for children or dogs? Or is a playground or dog park nearby sufficient?

Same Vibe, Different Neighborhood

Once you determine what you like most about certain neighborhoods, you can pinpoint which neighborhoods fit your desires.

Now, If prices don’t match your budget, could still find the same “neighborly” vibe for less cost, in another location. If must be able to walk to work or be near mass transit, then everything else can be adjusted.  (the home’s size, condition, etc.).

Your budget determines what type of home you can afford in a particular neighborhood.  Such as a detached home, townhome or condo unit.  You can always tweak your budget or rethink some of your “musts” if you’re way off base and can’t even find a comparable neighborhood.

Don’t Forget About Resale

There are certain factors in a location – both desirable and undesirable — that you should consider for resale value.

Does the neighborhood have good schools? Is the home on a busy corner lot? Crime and traffic can also affect a home’s value.

Also, keep in mind that revitalizing neighborhoods can be on your list if more popular and expensive neighborhoods are out of your price range.

An up and coming neighborhood could be a bargain if you time it right, but do your research and be confident it’s heading upwards.

Do your research!

You’ll be more satisfied with your purchase if you know about different neighborhoods. They’ll be no “what ifs” or “should haves” that will haunt you in your new home.

If you are having a hard time deciding what neighborhood or neighborhoods you want to live in, I can help with that! 

Remember, you don’t feel like you have to have everything figured out before you reach out!

My job is to help you along the way, even before you are ready to buy.  I may even be able to connect with clients that live in the neighborhoods you are considering to give you the inside scoop!  I can’t wait to hear from you.  Just email me lisa.hinkley@cbrealtycom and we can schedule a time to talk. 

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