We have all heard the age old real estate adage: "Location, location, location!" But what does that really mean? For some, it is the proximity to certain features, for some it is a view or easy access to a golf course or a lake or the mountains. For others it might be the size of lots and distance between homes, and still others value the “walk-ability-score” or ability to walk for shopping, entertainment, eating, schools, work, healthcare, and transportation. Whatever you are seeking it boils down to one word: Neighborhood.
Some definitions of “neighborhood”:
- A section lived in by neighbors and usually having distinguishing characteristics
- A distinctive area: a district with characteristics that distinguish it from the areas around it
- Vicinity, the general vicinity or surrounding area of a place
Often times when the word "neighborhood" is mentioned, it takes us back in time to our youth with remembered times and images of playing with friends in the cul-de-sac or street close to home, and mom calling kids for dinner. Sometimes those memories are centered on a specific house but often times it is more an area, street or streets, or a park – the overall landscape of our childhood. Neighborhood is a powerful word. It speaks of a sense of community, a sense of family, a sense of belonging. And it certainly can be part of our identity.
An attractive neighborhood can drive up the value of a property. The personality of a neighborhood shows up in the homes, yards, streets, schools, parks and stores that service the area.
When you are considering a property, especially with a family, you might want to familiarize yourself with the various neighborhoods in your target area. The best way to determine if a neighborhood will live up to its reputation is to spend time there. Visit the chamber of commerce for the town, and find the local newspapers online. Talk to people who have lived in that region and don't be afraid to ask the tough questions: what do they like and/or dislike about an area, and why?
It is always a good idea to visit the neighborhood at different times of the day and evening – the feel and flow of a neighborhood may change significantly at different times of the day – if many of the residents work during the day and are home in the evenings you may discover an complete change in the neighborhood’s personality and the level of activity. How many cars are on the street? How do the outsides of the homes and buildings appear to you? Are there kids and families, and is that important to you? If there is a school within walking distance, how many kids are walking around the community, or is there a bus stop across the street from the home you have your eye on? Does that matter to you? Is there parking available – do people park in the street or in their driveways/garages?
Taking enough time when you visit neighborhoods can be difficult, but worthwhile. If you can get to the area where you will move, try to mimic your own daily routines as you explore. If it is a work day, seek to drive the streets around the times that you might leave and return from work. Explore where you might have dinner out at, how far is it to your favorite restaurant? Where is the nearest grocery store, is it one you prefer or will you have to travel to continue your shopping preferences? Where and how many gas stations are nearby? What route – and is there more than one – you can take to get to work? To your families and friends homes? To other places you visit frequently? Often times it appears you are closer to these type of places only to find that it take you much longer to get out of a neighborhood and to the main streets or maybe the main streets are easier to access therefore your commute time decreases.
For each home buyer there is a list of different important places, here are some to consider: medical care options including a doctor’s office, hospital, urgent care, dentist; place of worship; parks; library; lake/water; daycare; gym; walking paths; schools (all levels); post office; bank; hardware store; courthouse; police station; dry cleaner; pharmacy.
In our next article we continue to explore the neighborhood concept and how it relates to your real estate goals.
Until next time, remember our goal is to help you find your next home and getting you through the process is our expertise!
Reechia & Keith Powell
Powell Realty Group
Homes for sale in Plano