Choosing the right neighborhood is just as important as choosing the right house. You may love the house but if you hate the neighborhood, you’re probably going to eventually give up the house for a better neighborhood. Before deciding what type of house you want, consider what type of community or neighborhood you want to live in. When moving to the Southwest Washington area there are multiple communities, cities, and towns to choose from such as the main city of Vancouver, outlying cities like Battle Ground, Cherry Grove, Camas, Mount Pleasant, Washougal, and many other smaller communities.
Each one has its own pros and cons and it’ll depend on where you want to live, commute, school districts, and how close you want to be to major services and amenities. When deciding where to live, here are five questions to ask yourself when choosing a Southwest Washington neighborhood.
#1. Do school districts matter?
This is an interesting question because whether you have kids or not, living in a great school district can actually affect the resale price and home values. Whether you’re planning on having kids, never having kids, or they’ve grown up and moved away, considering buying a home in a good school district or loan will increase the value of your home. This might be something to consider even if you don’t have school-age children.
#2. Local amenities and services.
Did you know that homes in neighborhoods that are close to a Trader Joe’s or Starbucks actually have higher home values? Being close to services and amenities is a plus for a lot of homebuyers, but not all. However, those that choose to live away from the typical suburban community are probably doing so for reasons such as farmland, acreage, or more custom home design.
But, the majority of homebuyers are looking for properties close to services and amenities, which is probably why the WalkScore® program is so common. People want to know how far away the closest grocery store is, if it’s a buy couple neighborhood, and how close to transit stations the house will be. Consider this when choosing the home and the neighborhood.
#3. What do you have now that you love or that you wish you had?
Consider your current neighborhood. Are there things that you hate about the neighborhood that you want to avoid in the next one? What are some things that you love about the area? This can definitely help build out your pros and cons to any particular neighborhood. Do you want a fenced backyard? Are you looking for neighbors that live close? Do you want a historical neighborhood with no garages so that neighbors are forced to talk with each other and really get to know one another? Do you want to live in a neighborhood with an HOA that has certain restrictions such as no pets, consistency in house color, organize landscaping, or associations that don’t allow for RVs, boats, or junk cars?
#4. Commute routes.
While a lot of us are now working from home, commute routes can still be a major draw to a home and community. Are there multiple ways to get to the house? If there’s only one route or one major route, you might end up with a bottleneck at high traffic times. Are you moving to be closer to family, community, services, or work? All of these questions will help you make an informed decision on where to live.
#5. Talk to the neighbors.
Perhaps you found a home that you really love and as you look closer, it checks all the boxes for the perfect neighborhood. Take some time and knock on people’s doors asking about what they love about the neighborhood and what they hate. You might be surprised. Associations under litigation, cranky neighbors, disrespectful neighbors that have dogs barking all hours of the night or high crime areas are likely to be revealed simply by talking to potential neighbors.
Finding the right neighborhood and community does take a little bit of research but you can check out certain crime search websites, watchdog.org, and find out commute routes and location of amenities by a simple Google search. However, if you want more tips on finding the perfect neighborhood for your needs and your budget, simply contact our office. Our agents understand and note the entire Southwest Washington real estate market would love to help offer a wide range of communities that might fit your search criteria and price.
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