|It is always a difficult situation when you know that you need to move but you haven't zeroed in on a particular neighbourhood yet. Choosing the right neighbourhood for your needs will determine how happy you are in your new home. Obviously, much of what makes a neighbourhood "right" for you is subjective, so it is important to keep your personal needs and preferences in mind while considering a variety of factors. Here are the most important things to consider while searching for the perfect neighbourhood for you.
When thinking of whether a neighbourhood is considered "good" or "bad" the first thing that comes to most people's minds is crime.
Ideally you would like to move somewhere with the lowest crime rates possible. That information is usually available to research before you move. However, crime is always a risk in even the safest places in the world, so no statistic can guarantee that no crime will occur while you live in your new neighbourhood. You are just putting the odds in your favor if you move somewhere with low crime rates.
When you move into a new neighbourhood, you are essentially paying for the lower crime rates. This is where your personal needs must be considered. If you are moving with a handful of adult male roommates, then you may be able to tolerate higher crime statistics than a single female or a family with young children would. It is all about your personal needs and what is comfortable for you. If you want to risk living in a high crime area, it may be a way to save money.
If you have kids or plan on having kids in your new neighbourhood, then learning about the local schools system is a must. There is a wealth of statistics and information to be found on most schools in any neighbourhood. A school with a good reputation could cause the area to be more expensive to live in. There may be multiple choices for schools in certain areas so be sure to do your research.
Cost of living
Beyond just paying for the new home, particular neighbourhoods come with their own cost of living.
- What do local supermarkets, doctors, schools, or restaurants charge?
- How are the taxes?
- Are there toll roads around where you live?
- What access to public transportation will you have and how much will it cost?
All of these questions are factored in to most online cost of living calculators.
Location is the most obvious thing to consider when trying to find the best new neighbourhood for you. Location is at the core of a variety of questions you should ask yourself when choosing a new neighbourhood.
It is rare that you'll find one location that is incredibly close to all of these things and still satisfies you in the other aspects of your life. It depends on what your priorities are and how willing you are to drive or ride a bit longer to get to some of these places.
- How close is the neighbourhood to where you will work?
- How close is it to where you may play?
- Is there anything interesting nearby?
- Is there affordable public transportation in the neighbourhood?
- Where is the nearest hospital, school, supermarket, or friend of yours?
Neighbours make a neighbourhood what it is. Spend some time in the neighbourhoodyou are considering moving to and try to meet the people who you could potentially near in your near future.
What do you want out of your neighbours? Are you an extroverted person who wants to get to know everyone living near you? Or are you introverted and would be happy if you and your neighbours never felt the need to say a word to each other as you go about your lives? Spending a little time in a neighbourhood before moving there may clue you in on what the culture is like.
Associations and restrictions
More formally, there may be a neighbourhood association or a home owner association. The difference between the two is the level of legal authority they have to enforce their rules. In this case, you should meet with some of the people who run the association and ask them what the association is about and what are the rules for living in the neighbourhood. Whether the rules come from a city-run home owners association, or a locally run neighbourhood association, it would be a good idea to follow them, regardless of their origin. You don't want to move in to a new area and give the impression that you don't care about the neighbourhood.
Local rules may include:
If much of this sounds like an assault on your personal freedoms, then you may want to move in to a neighbourhood that has no association. Just keep in mind that even without an association there still are local deed restrictions that require you to obey city rules that may include some of the same restrictions. Unless you live in an isolated area without a real neighbourhood, you are never really going to be totally free of neighbourhood restrictions.
- Restrictions on outdoor decor
- Cleanliness/maintenance requirements
- Required or informal fees to the association
- Pet restrictions
- Noise restrictions
- Common area maintenance
Finally, you should accept that there is no "perfect" neighbourhood for you. When searching for what you want, you will need to choose where you can compromise. There may not be a perfect neighbourhood out there, but there always is the best choice for you from the available options. Choose wisely, and live happily ever after your move.