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Finding the Best Neighborhood for Your New Home

Buying a home in a neighborhood that fits your lifestyle is essential. If your new neighborhood doesn’t meet your needs, the choice can cause headaches for years. The location of your home makes a significant difference in the quality of your life. With a competitive housing market, you might need to expand your home search, but how do you decide which neighborhood is right for you? Experts recommend creating a checklist of neighborhood features you value the most. To help you narrow down your choices, consider the following.


Quality of the School System and Daily Commute. If you have children or if you’re planning to start a family, evaluating the quality of the school system is usually at the top of the must-have list. Homes located in quality school districts improve your home’s resell value. The best place to start is by visiting the school district’s website for information about graduation rates and test scores.


If you commute to work or other locations daily or even a couple of times a week, factor in travel time to these locations at different times throughout the day, including heaviest traffic times.


Neighborhood Amenities. Think about different elements of your lifestyle and how the ideal neighborhood can complement your needs. Cheryl Moore with Core Homes shares, “If you have children, you might be drawn to a neighborhood with a pool, community green spaces, playgrounds, or close to parks.  Streets with stretches of level grade are great for bikes and scooters. Older home buyers also appreciate walkable streets for convenient exercise. Lifestyle amenities such as a peaceful lake setting or a close-by golf course are big draws for people who are empty-nesters or are retired.”  Moore continues, “We are always happy to help our prospective homebuyers find just the right community and home for their family.”


Property Taxes and Homeowners’ Association (HOA) Fees. As a future homeowner, you are responsible for paying for more than just your mortgage. Depending on what city or county the neighborhood resides in, the property taxes you pay may vary. Ask your real estate agent about the current tax rate and how much it has increased in the last several years. You’ll want to factor the amount into your overall budget.


Also, many neighborhoods have HOA fees to maintain common areas, such as a pool or nearby park. HOA fees vary. Depending on where you decide to live and what type of home you purchase, you will have to pay a monthly or annual fee.


Age of Development. If you are a younger family, a newer development may provide the chance to meet other families that share your life experiences and interests. On the other hand, older developments will have more mature landscaping and bigger lot sizes.  An historic neighborhood rich with character may have a one-of-a-kind curb appeal but, in the end, an older home may require a significant amount of repair work.


To get started on finding a community that is the right fit for your family, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga’s member directory today.