Top 7 Steps to Finding the Right NeighborhoodBy Lee Keadle
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Finding a neighborhood that is a good match for you (or for your client) can be very difficult. So, we’ve come up with seven steps to find the right neighborhood.
- Look at a map of the area. Start getting familiar with the area you plan to move to. Note the size of the area, and try to find the main roads. You can use an old-fashioned road map, or you can find an interactive map on the internet. You can even look up the area on the internet to read more about it. It is good to have a basic understanding of the area before you try to find a more specific section, like a neighborhood.
- Talk with your real estate agent. Be sure to tell him or her what is most important to you regarding the neighborhood you’re looking for. Are good public schools a necessity? Do you already know where you’ll be working so that you can figure out commute times? Do you want a small neighborhood or a large neighborhood? Are you looking for a prestigious neighborhood or a neighborhood that is very laid back? Do you want a neighborhood with lots of amenities (and how much does it cost to use the amenities)? Your real estate agent should be able to give a short list of neighborhoods to consider based on your preferences.
- Visit the neighborhoods that your real estate agent recommended. You can drive around during the weekend to see how active the community is. Also, driving through at night can help you determine how safe you feel in the neighborhood.
- While you’re driving through the neighborhoods, look for sidewalks. This step is important if you like to exercise (especially if the neighborhood doesn’t have a fitness center or if you don’t care to join one). Also, if you have kids, the sidewalks would provide a safe place for them to ride bikes to walk over to a friend’s house. Driving through neighborhoods can help you to narrow down your list. When you have one or two neighborhoods left, continue to step 5.
- See if the neighborhood has a homeowners’ association. If the neighborhood has an HOA, you can contact them to ask any questions you may have left. Also, many HOAs have websites where you can learn more about the neighborhood. You can see how strict the Covenants and Restrictions are for the neighborhood. Sometimes the HOA websites will include the C and R on the website (if they don’t have it on the website, you can contact the HOA directly about the C and R.
- If the neighborhood has a community pool (or any other amenity, like a golf course), see if you can visit it. Some neighborhoods allow non-residents, or guests, to use the facility with a small fee. You can use this time to not only test out the facilities, but also to test out your potential neighbors. Even if you don’t go and introduce yourself, you can see how friendly they are.
- If you have children, Find out what school they would attend if you lived in a particular neighborhood. You can use the internet to see how they are ranked and what programs or sports teams they offer.
On Lee’s website you can search all Charleston SC real estate listings including James Island real estate by neighborhood!
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Article Submitted On: June 25, 2007