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How Do I Pick a Neighborhood?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Columbia

When looking for a home most buyers are concerned with whether they are purchasing in a "good area" and whether they will like the neighborhood. I encourage my clients to look at several items when considering a purchase in a neighborhood to help make the decision on whether to move forward.



We start with safety first so that you do not fall in love with a neighborhood only to discover that you do not feel safe in the area. As a Realtor, I cannot speak to the safety of an area, so I provide information to my clients about the rate of turn over as well as the stability of home value in the area. The homework for my clients is to check the crime statistics and Megan's Law information to get a feel for the area. I often encourage them to compare the statistics to where they currently live as you may be surprised.


The Amenities

If having a amenities such as a pool, tennis court, playground, common areas, etc. are important to you then let your agent know. When considering a neighborhood with amenities drive through those areas and check whether they appear to be maintained and in good condition. Some areas have pools or playgrounds, however they may no longer be functional due to the owners in the area choosing for their HOA dues to be spent elsewhere.


Commute and Convenience

Is being close to work and shopping important to you? Or would you rather be in a semi-isolated area? These are important to consider as you will be living in that home for years to come. Traffic patterns can also impact your commute, so even consider driving your commute to see if it works for you.


The Night Life

Driving through the neighborhood at night will give you a feel for what if may be like when you are home relaxing in the evenings. You may find that the next door neighbor of the house you like spends their evenings blasting music and having many people over with their cars parked on the street. These are important to consider as you cannot change your neighbors and houses to not have a 30 day return policy. It is also wise to drive through a neighborhood on a Saturday morning and early afternoons to see if people feel comfortable walking in the neighborhood or having their kids in the front yard. Even spend a Saturday simply driving through neighborhoods in an area you like to get a feel for what would be a good fit for you.


The Yards

If you are looking for a neighborhood with well manicured yards and driving through see that many of your potential future neighbor's yards are in disarray, this may not be a good fit for you. Likewise, if you would like to live in an area with a minimal restrictions or no HOA check out the overall upkeep of the homes. You can also check with your agent to see if they can pull a copy of the restrictions and covenants for the community.


The Schools

Even if children are not in your future or are not planned for some time, the schools that the neighborhood is zoned for are worth considering as it may impact your re-sale value. Take a look at the district websites, chat with any friends in the area, and research to see if the schools have a good reputation. 


These are just some of the items to consider when looking into different neighborhoods and this often depends on the availability of houses. Ultimately, a house is an investment as well as a home so you will want to do your due diligence in making sure you will be comfortable there. Questions about buying or selling in the greater Columbia area? Call or email today!



Posted by

Carolina Girls Team

(803) 429-3812



Keller Williams Columbia

1 Harbison Way, Columbia SC 29210

Comments (12)

Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Mary Grace - that is the best information you can give.  Tell them to look for themselves and give websites.  They make their own decisions.

Jan 10, 2019 08:22 AM
Mike Baltierra
Rise Realty - Eastvale, CA
Full Service at Your Service Realtor-Eastvale CA

There is so much involved when searching for home than just how nice it is or the price. You cover so many great points for them to consider.

Jan 10, 2019 02:20 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Mary Grace, great post, and there are many factors reviewed when buyers are deciding where to live.  You have many great factors to consider! 

Jan 11, 2019 05:21 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Mary Grace - a commonly asked and an often frustrating question from homebuyers everywhere it seems. A good guide.

Jan 28, 2019 06:32 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Mary,
I popped over from Joan Cox's reblog.  Those folks relocating have a special need for due diligence in searching for the right location, don't they?

Jan 28, 2019 06:35 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Mary Grace. This is a thorough and important post with a lot of good information. Some can't spell it out so this would be a good handout. As an aside, please use a bigger font so it is easier to read.

Jan 28, 2019 06:54 AM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Great points...you need ot decide on your priorities to choose what is most important !

Jan 28, 2019 06:11 PM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Hi Mary Grace.  This is where the value of a knowledgable Realtor comes into play.

Jan 29, 2019 05:47 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

This is a good guide for buyers who are considering a new area.

Feb 09, 2019 06:47 AM
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Great information & a thorough post, Mary Grace (Ballew) MacDougall. There are many considerations buyers must answer about their potential new neighborhood. Some time spent in the area at different times can be a real eye opener - in both good and bad ways...

Thanks for sharing!


Feb 09, 2019 09:15 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Mary Grace:

These are terrific suggestions for buyers looking for the right community. It can be a tough choice, depending on what's important, but we know that it's not just about the home, but the community and the lifestyle!


Feb 10, 2019 12:03 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

All great suggestions, Mary Grace and definitely have a huge impact on where buyers land as well. 

Feb 10, 2019 03:42 PM