How do I know which neighborhood to buy my home in?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Dallas Fort Worth 214-552-2091 TX License# 0581538

Scoping Out a Neighborhood

Homebuyers enter the process with one of two mindsets. There are those who know what kind of house they want – the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the type of kitchen and maybe whether or not they want a yard. Then there are those who know where they want to live, such as a specific school district or neighborhood, but haven't completed a wish list of home features.

Seldom does a homebuyer tell her real estate agent that she wants a "three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a gourmet kitchen, a fireplace and a pool in the backyard, located on J Street in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood."

While it's important for your real estate agent to know what features you want in a home, "location, location, location" is just as important, important, important.

Even if you know exactly what you want in a house and perhaps have one picked out, it's important to scope out the neighborhood before committing fully to buying.

Don't Believe What You Hear

Especially when you are new to an area, it's easy to believe what residents tell you about the various neighborhoods. "When I was getting ready to move to Las Vegas 10 years ago I went online and read about the various neighborhoods," recalls Veronica Thomas. "The consensus seemed to be that Green Valley and Summerlin were the best places to live."

On a weekend trip to check out the areas in person, Thomas found that neither area suited her. "Green Valley was far too congested for me," she said. "Summerlin was way too far from my job on the Strip. I'd heard that both had low crime rates, but they weren't that much lower than some other areas that I found much more attractive," she concludes.

There is nothing quite like first-hand information. If good schools are important to you, do the research yourself instead of relying on what others consider "good." lists schools' test scores and features reviews from parents.

Crime statistics can also be found online. The FBI offers a nationwide Sex Offender Registry on their website and Neighborhood Scout claims that they "reveal the safety from crime for every neighborhood in America." Finally, call the police or sheriff's department in the area for more information on crime statistics.

Google maps will allow you to map a route from the new house to your job, to a particular school, or to the nearest shopping center and kick back the mileage and a rough estimate of the time it will take to get there.

A lot of your preliminary neighborhood research can be done online, but it's not a substitute for actually checking out the neighborhood in person.

Drive It

Number three on the list of the five biggest mistakes homebuyers make when choosing a neighborhood is underestimating or ignoring the commute, according to MSN Real Estate. Their advice is to actually make the commute during normal commute hours to see if it fits your lifestyle.

Drive through the neighborhood at different times during the day and evening, on both weekdays and weekends, looking for anything that may be considered an annoyance. Music blasting from a teenager's open bedroom window when you're trying to unwind after work may make you wonder why you bought a house in that neighborhood in the first place. Is the house under the airport's flight path? Kids – and all that they imply – may be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you feel about them.

If you don't drive, walk the neighborhood. Locate the nearest public transportation stop and see for yourself what the walk is like to the store and other local conveniences.

Check Municipal Records

Finally, check the neighborhood and surrounding area for anything that may impact the home's value. Look for:

    • A high number of foreclosures nearby.
    • Developments in the works.
    • Upcoming zoning changes.

Sure, it's important to fulfill those dreams of the perfect house for you. But the bigger picture - a suitable neighborhood in an area that fits your lifestyle – is just as important to your quality of life.

Find a great local realtor to partner with

When you're looking for a realtor agent to help you negotiate the complexities of buying or selling a home, you've come to the right place. The experience, dedication and strong communication you'll receive here will help ensure the successful and profitable sale of your home:

1. The Local Advantage - We are local experts when you choose to list your home with us for sale in the North Texas and DFW area.  We list homes for sale in North Dallas, Plano, Frisco, Lewisville, The Colony, Prosper, Little Elm, Flower Mound, Carrollton and lots of other areas in DFW.

2. Internet Advertising - We advertise your listing on over 350 websites locally and nationally.  Since the lion's share of home buyers starts their search on the internet, top placement on search engines is essential. You'll gain access to placement on Google, MSNBC, and other websites. This will maximize your exposure and bring a large number of potential buyers to view information about your home.

3. Email Campaigns - It's important to "work the network." We can work together to identify the right people to target your home-and get in touch with them by email to drive excitement and interest.

4. Personal Touch - Of course, technology alone won't sell your home. Face-to-face interaction provides the advantage to sell your home-and you won't have to worry about a thing. The details will be handled with care and constant communication, to ensure the marketing and sale of your home go smoothly.


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Serving North Dallas, Carrollton, Garland, Richardson, Plano, Allen,
McKinney, Frisco, The Colony, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Little Elm and

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Stephen L. Skakandy, CRS
RE/MAX Elite Realty Group - Camp Lejeune, NC
Expert Communicator, Skilled Facilitator

Raymond, this is a very nice post. There are many great words of wisdom for homebuyers. I really like how you focused on people getting out the the subdivision and seeing it for themselves or driving their commute route. Everyone is obsessed with the internet and the revolution in easy information it has brought. However, there is so much that it can't nor will ever be able to do and putting "boots on the ground," and seeing it for yourself is such an important piece of the home search.

Jul 17, 2014 12:35 PM #1
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Raymond Edler

#1 Real Estate Office in DFW
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