How to Choose the Perfect Neighborhood

Choosing the right neighborhood is just as important as finding the right home.
4/15/2016
K.Davis
 

 

There 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?

 

Depending 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

As 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 month.

 

If 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.

 

If 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

Probably 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.

 

You should also check out local police departments, which will have statistics about the kinds of crimes (or lack thereof) committed in your neighborhood.

 

The 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.

 

This 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 suburbs-- a good distance from the urban environments they might work in.

 

Either 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

Your 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 considering.

 

Stroll around each neighborhood, checking out how well-kept the sidewalks, lawns, houses, and apartment buildings are. Meet the neighbors.

 

Observe 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

neighborhood.

 

If 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

neighborhoods.​

BRG Apartments
7265 Kenwood Rd; Ste. 111
Cincinnati, OH 45236
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