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are many factors to consider. How close is the area to work?
What are the school systems like? Does the neighborhood favor a high resale
value for your home?
on who you are and what you need, these factors can vary. Below, we outline
exactly what you need to consider when choosing the right
neighborhood for you.
Start With Your Budget
a rule of thumb, your rent or mortgage should be about 30% of your income. Look
at last year's tax return. Combine what you and your spouse made after taxes,
then multiple it by 0.30. That number should be what you spend annually on your
rent or mortgage. For
example, if combined you made $50,000 last year, you have $15,000 to spend on
your home. In other words, your mortgage or rent should be about $1,250 a
you're renting a home, you'll need to put down a deposit and most likely first
and last month's rent. However, some people may find have difficulties putting
down what's essentially the cost of three months' rent. Factor in the higher,
upfront move-in cost when you are choosing between apartments. You may want to
choose a less expensive apartment if you are strapped for cash.
you're buying a home, you'll need to apply for a mortgage loan. Check out
online mortgage lender calculators. Make sure to add up your monthly expenses
and existing debts before you enter your financial data. You might qualify for
a bigger mortgage. However, if you want to pay off your student loans and other
debts, you might not want to borrow the bigger loan amount.
Investigate Each Neighborhood
the most important thing to consider about any neighborhood is safety. Websites
like NeighborhoodScout.com, CrimeReports.com, and CrimeMapping.com can help you
figure out the crime rate in each of the neighborhoods you're looking at.
should also check out local police departments, which will have statistics
about the kinds of crimes (or lack thereof) committed in your neighborhood.
next most important factor to consider is education. Even if you don't have
children or don't plan to have children, school systems play a major factor in
determining a home's property value.
aspect is especially important if you're looking to buy or settle in the
neighborhood long-term. Find out how good the schools are in each neighborhood
and use that information to decide where you ultimately want to live.
Consider Your Proximity to Work
Gas price might be low, but you
might not be interested in commuting to work at all. Many young professionals
choose to live in neighborhoods where they can walk, bike, or take public transportation
to work. Many families don't mind the commute because they prefer to live the
good distance from the urban environments they might work in.
way, you don't want to spend half your day in the car, on a bus, or on a train.
For each location you're thinking about living in, drive from the home to your
office. Or, if you prefer to use mass transit, use that method. Then, factor
that potential commuting time into your decision making process.
Walk the Neighborhood
new neighborhood might look good on paper. The only way you'll truly know you
love it is physically going there and walking around. Take a Saturday and go
with your family, spouse, or friends to look at each neighborhood you're
around each neighborhood, checking out how well-kept the sidewalks, lawns,
houses, and apartment buildings are. Meet the neighbors.
how noisy or quiet it is. Watch for areas that get traffic. These are all small
things that might make or break your experience in your new
you're not sure which neighborhood is right for you, contact a reputable, local
realty group that offers property management services. A member of a realty
group's executive team will consider your lifestyle needs and help you look at
apartments or homes in appropriate