So you’re searching for your next home. Your home is already on the market. You’re working with a realtor you trust. You’ve even figured out your ideal home layout and whether you’re looking for a move-in ready option or a fixer-upper. But what about the city and neighborhood you’re moving to?
Have you pinpointed the location of your next home? You can change a lot about your home, but you can’t change its location. When you’re looking beyond a property line, especially if your dream home is in a housing community, what should you be looking for?
Proximity to Important Amenities
Finding the right home for you isn’t always where the struggle begins. Sometimes, that struggle starts when we look beyond your dream home, and extend your search into its community and amenities. If you’re still house hunting and have narrowed your search down to several housing communities, cities, or neighborhoods, make sure you make a list of every important amenity or requirements for your family.
Create a list of “I Need” amenities and “I’d Like” amenities. For instance, is it a necessity to have parks within walking distance of your home? Is it important to have a short commute time to your workplace? Every list will look different, and the likelihood of hitting everything on your list is unlikely. Be realistic about your needs and the needs of those moving with you. If a neighborhood or planned community checks off more than half of the items on your lists, they might be your answer!
The Perks of HOA
If a planned-community home or condo is on your shortlist, remember to seriously consider all the amenities attached to the HOA dues you’ll be paying. While some HOA perks are great for the whole family—like community clubhouses and pools—not every HOA offers amenities that are worth a hefty price tag. Pay close attention to what you’re paying for month by month. Keep in mind that basic amenities are commonplace in most housing communities, so also keep in mind location and proximity to non-community amenities as well. Worthy HOA perks can boost your home’s value and give you a competitive edge on the market if you ever decide to sell later on.
Where Do You Want to Come Home To?
Although this next bit isn’t nearly as tangible as HOA perks or proximity to what’s important, it’s still something to consider nevertheless. Where you feel comfortable living isn’t only about the exact location of your home, but rather, the identity of your neighborhood and community. Of course, this can be tricky to discern if you’re not entirely familiar with how a community functions day in and day out. Talk to others that currently reside within a neighborhood. Check out websites that layout what community members have to say about their towns. See how an area is “rated” in terms of public schools, nearby amenities, entertainment, and crime. If you’re not comfortable with what people are saying, a prime location might not matter.
When it comes to housing communities or planned-communities, newer builders are more inclined to develop an area with all necessary amenities and plan for a layout that makes usage ideal for every family. You’ll notice that in a well-planned community—whether it’s completely built out or in its beginning stages—builders will make sure there’s a sense of authenticity to each home and neighborhood layout. Look for a community that shows it not only cares about building up a stellar ambiance but cares about keeping amenities available to every homeowner and not only those in a single area.
What You Can’t Live With is Important
Often times we think tirelessly about what we can’t live without, but we spend far less time thinking about what we can’t live with. The truth is, every family has a list of dealbreakers. Whether that pertains to your future home or future neighborhood, a list of things you just can’t live with is important. Finding the perfect community or home isn’t always enough when something elsewhere is lacking. Be honest with what you just can’t live with. This could be noise pollution, zero access to outdoor amenities, or a single bathroom home. The more you know what you don’t want, the easier it is to find a housing community or neighborhood location that is right for you.