When the time comes to move, it can be a difficult and overwhelming process choosing a new neighborhood, especially if you are relocating to a brand-new area. These five simple steps will make that process simpler and stress-free.
1. Google is your friend: Simply searching what is important to you like “best places to live in Madison, Wisconsin” or "Best neighborhoods in..." will give you plenty of lists that point out the different features of any neighborhood. The internet provides a wide range of information including anything from the best neighborhoods for millennials/young professionals all the way to people approaching retirement.
2. Consider the value of different neighborhoods: The “Starbucks effect,” a study featured in Time magazine, means homes in this study with a Starbucks nearby nearly doubled in value over a 17-year period. Personally, I think this is a sign that Starbucks has a knack for finding up-and-coming neighborhoods, but it’s all the same. Therefore, look for things like coffee shops and specialty grocery stores nearby as these are a good sign of valuable neighborhoods that will hold their value.
Even if schools don’t matter to you, they’ll likely matter when you sell the house.
3. Drive through them at all different times of the day: This will help you get a feel for what the neighborhood is like at all times. On top of that, it lets you test your commute time from your new home.
4. Research schools: You definitely want to look into schools if you have kids. There are all sorts of databases online you can access that score schools. We also recommend meeting with school officials to learn how they stack up against each other. Even if schools don’t matter to you, they will likely matter to buyers when the time comes to sell the house.
5. Spend some time in the neighborhood: We recommend doing this once you’ve narrowed it down to a few neighborhoods. Check out the different areas during different times of the day and different days of the week so you can be sure the makeup of the area you ultimately choose is something you like. Your realtor can’t legally answer how diverse a neighborhood or how many kids it has because it might seem like we’re steering you toward a certain area, which is a big no-no. Go for a walk or check out a restaurant to get an even better feel for your future home.
If you have any other questions about choosing a neighborhood, relocating, or buying and selling real estate here in the Dane County area, you can always give me a call or send me an email. I’m always happy to help.