Let’s say you’re ready to buy a house and you’ve been approved for your Austin home loan. If you could live anywhere in Austin, where would you go? Of course, it’s never that open ended. Finding a new neighborhood is not like ordering off a menu. The house hunt is restricted by factors such as price and commute. But that’s only the start. What about schools, crime rate, taxes, traffic, amenities, and convenience?
Make a list
Make a wish list of all the things ideally you’re looking for in a neighborhood. This doesn’t mean you’re going to necessarily find your dream neighborhood, but articulating some of the most important aspects will help narrow your search. Thinking of the smallest details like sidewalks or bigger particulars like the typical lot size can help narrow the list before the house hunt actually begins.
- Is school quality important?
- Do you want sidewalks and running trails throughout the neighborhood?
- Do you want to be close to parks and pools?
- Are you willing to pay neighborhood association fees?
- How much are you willing to pay for property taxes?
- How long of a commute to work are you willing to make?
- Do you want to be close to shops and restaurants?
- Are you willing to be near busy streets or main thoroughfares?
- Do want to be near family or friends?
Do your research
Your realtor is a great resource, but you need to do some of your own research. Head to the computer and search for information on the neighborhood through newspaper archives and other resources. What has been the crime rate for this neighborhood? How are schools rated? How steady have property values been over the last ten years? The more information at hand the more informed you can be on the big decision of where to live.
What might look good on paper may be a different story in reality. Even if a neighborhood looks nice and peaceful on a Saturday afternoon, the morning commute traffic could be a nightmare on Monday. Do some investigating by driving through the neighborhood at different times of day as well as different days of the week.
Take a walk
Get out of the car and walk around a neighborhood. You will notice different things on foot that can’t be seen from driving by on the street. Do people maintain their yards? What condition are the sidewalks in? Are people out walking and children playing? While you are out for a neighborhood stroll, ask people you see out and about what they think of the neighborhood. Talking to someone watering the garden is the perfect way to get some insider information.
Think long term
You might be a young couple now, but someday you might have a family. Or you might be looking for a home to accommodate your large family, but someday the house will be empty and you will retire. Buying a house is a big investment; after all, most Austin home loans are a thirty year mortgage! You don’t necessarily have to think that long term, but you should always ask yourself: Can I live here 10 years? Can I live here 20 years? What is the long term plan for this neighborhood?
Perhaps the most important thing is to be flexible and keep an open mind. Austin is a fantastic place to live and LeaderOne Austin is here to provide guidance and information for Austin home loans and so much more.