When you’re looking for a home, there are some details you’ve been dreaming of. Maybe it’s the quiet back porch to enjoy your morning coffee or the large open concept first floor kitchen perfect for family gatherings.
While the house itself can be painted and made your own, the location it sits on can make or break it. We’ve compiled a list of items to consider when looking for your next home.
The right school
If you have (or are planning to start) a family, you may be focused on the quality of local schools. Even if kids aren’t in your future, the school district you live in has a big impact on your home’s value. On average, home values are nearly 2.5 times higher near highly rated school districts.
For your child, the neighborhood you choose is where they will spend most of their day, so it’s important to entrust them with a decent school. Be sure to check out school reviews, testing statistics, and sign up for a tour. If the district you are considering does not have a school that meets your standards, you can find nearby private and charter schools that may be alternative options.
Culture and visual appeal
Even the perfect home may not be in the right neighborhood for you. There is a lot to consider when looking for a home, but in the end it should feel like you were meant to live there. Take a walk around the block and take in the sights while you’re looking at homes. Are the lawns mowed and landscaped? Is the level of noise pollution high? Are the houses serviced? Are the sidewalks and roads clean? Does the culture fit your lifestyle?
Consider visiting the neighborhood at different times to get a feel for what a typical morning or evening is like and how the culture can change. Whether you need a quiet, family-friendly neighborhood for your growing family or an area with more nightlife, the neighborhood you choose should make you feel comfortable.
Home is a place where you can rest easy knowing your family is safe. There are several ways to find out the crime rate in a potential neighborhood. Check your local police blogs or continue CrimeReports.com for a map of offenses as well as trends. incl FamilyWatchdog.us, you can access a map and information about sex offenders near you. Just a few streets can separate a safer neighborhood from a more dangerous one, so be sure to focus your research around the address of your potential home.
Do you like city life or do you prefer the countryside? Is it desirable to be minutes away from work, your child’s school and grocery stores, or is it better to be far away in your own personal oasis? Living in close proximity to these places will save you time, money on gas, and can ultimately reduce your stress levels (not to mention increase your happiness and overall mental health). But if the added peace, privacy and beautiful views outweigh that, more power to you!
Taxes, fees and regulations
From the moment you buy your home, you’ll start paying taxes on it (and your property). Depending on the area, these indicators can be quite high. You can usually access your area’s property tax on the website of your local tax assessor or municipality.
Another expense to look out for is home owner association fees, especially if you’re moving into an apartment, but many apartment developments have fees too. Check to see if the area you’re considering has condos and ask for a list of rules or expectations. You may be restricted to certain repairs or have to follow rules around fences, pools and even your mailbox.
Protect your new home
Life is full of uncertainty. Finding the right one homeowners insurance should not be one of them. With ERIE, you can find an ERIE agent who knows your area and the insurance you need. Contact us for a no-obligation homeowners insurance quote today.