Choosing the Right Neighborhood for You

When you talk with your Realtor about homes that interest you, the neighborhood should be an important factor. If not the most important. Here I touch on several important things to consider in researching neighborhood communities. Some of these factors will attract while others may deter. When people ask how to choose a subdivision these are often the most important considerations.

Neighborhood Schools

Schools are very important when it comes to real estate prices. A good school system can drive up property values and insulate them against fluctuations in the market.

Subdivision Crime and Safety 

Who doesn't want to live in the safest community possible? But not all of us can afford to live in a gated community with 24-hour security. Crime varies by area and depending on our budgets we may not have the option of choosing the part of our city with the lowest crime. Fortunately, we live or are choosing to live in a place where you can leave your vehicle running while you run in the grocery for a gallon of milk, and it will still be there when you come out (not that I recommend this). There are websites where you can type in the address and see the crime history near your potential home. One really good site for this information is Neighborhood Scout.

Sidewalks & Street Lighting

These things often go hand in hand with safety. Most people love to have sidewalks and well-lit areas for their kids to play safe. While the absence of sidewalks isn't the end of the world, it is a nice convenience.

Subdivision Highway Accessibility

Some neighborhoods are just easier to access. Having easy access to the highway or major road arteries allows you to get across town and even out of town much more conveniently. Certain neighborhoods are located in high-traffic areas specifically because they have great highway access.

Major Subdivision Conveniences

The proximity to things like restaurants, recreation, shopping, and groceries can make a subdivision very appealing to certain home buyers. The easier it is to access amenities the less time you will need to spend in a car.

Railroad Tracks

Railroad tracks nearby mean you can potentially expect to listen to freight trains or commuter rail at all hours. This is something to keep in mind.

Subdivision Walk-Ability

Walkability indicates how easy it is to enjoy your subdivision. Can you walk to the nearest grocery store, restaurant, gym, or bar? Walkability has become a major selling point for many home buyers as they try to spend less time in their cars. Homes in the heart of the city will naturally have greater walkability than those in the country. However, newer developments are focusing on increasing walkability as a selling point.

Parks and Playgrounds

Adults and children need access to open green spaces. If you have children you will want a neighborhood that offers a playground or other recreational possibilities.   Walking paths for exercise and dog walking. Oftentimes buyers gravitate toward being located in the center of town.

The Neighbors

This one may sound funny but it is a good idea to do a little bit of research on the neighbors who are adjacent to the property you are considering. This doesn’t mean you need to stake the place out but, the last thing you want is to get stuck living next to a lousy neighbor that can potentially affect your quality of living. And possibly cause problems when it comes time to sell.

Bozeman Dog Parks

Dogs have energy, lots of it. It's important to let your dog run off-leash on occasion. As in most cities and towns, this can only be done legally in prescribed areas. If you have a dog, you probably want access to an off-leash park within a reasonable distance. This is part of the advice I give to dog lovers in the process of relocating.

Secondary Considerations

  • Being close to a library.
  • Easy access to a local YMCA or after-school programs.
  • Close to a fitness center such as The Ridge Athletic Club.
  • Coffee shops such as Starbucks or City Brew.
  • Close to your Church. Or a church you would consider attending.

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