How to Choose a Neighborhood
5 steps to finding a place where you belong
By Liz Gray Published: 2/25/2008
If houses are like spouses, a neighborhood is like the extended family. But while you can have a good marriage and still dread holidays with the in-laws, you’ll never love a house if you don’t like your neighborhood.
How can you choose the right community? Become a neighborhood detective. Figure out what you’re looking for, do research and find a neighborhood that fits your description. You don’t even have to wear a trench coat — but it probably wouldn’t hurt.
STEP 1 — Profile Your Perfect Neighborhood
Before you start scrutinizing neighborhoods, turn the magnifying glass back on yourself.
Think about what you’re really looking for in a new neighborhood. Remember, you’ll probably have to make compromises, so put the “must-haves” at the top and the “would- like-to-haves” at the bottom. Not sure what fits your lifestyle?
Here is a list of just a few neighborhoods:
Jacksonville, NC – River Bluff, Carolina Plantations, Carolina Forest, Carolina Forest Town Homes, Carolina Plantations Town Homes, Williamsburg Plantation, The Bluffs On New River, Rock Creek, Moss Creek, Aragona Village, Sterling Farms, Brookstone Pointe, Brookstone At Lands End, Southwest Commons, Holly Grove Of Rock Creek
Here are some things to consider:
- Do you have children or are you planning to have children anytime soon? Parents know that the first thing to do when looking at a neighborhood is to research the school system. Even if you’re single, living in an area with a much sought-after school system raises your property value. If you have kids, you’ll also want to live close to parks and community centers.
- What type of home do you want? Are you interested in a single-family home or an apartment, townhouse or co-op?
- How far are you willing to commute? Do you plan to drive, walk or take mass transit to work? Do you have a car or would you be willing to get one?
- Do you want to be in a historic neighborhood or a new development? Historic neighborhoods have tons of character, but often require lots of repair work and are governed by community associations with strict standards. Newer developments have more modern features, but are typically far from the city center.
- What is your current community lacking? If you’re currently landlocked, but have always wanted to live on the waterfront, put that at the top of your list. If you’re a coffee junkie, having a Starbucks down the street may be a dream come true.
- Do you want to be able to go places on foot? Would you like to be within walking distance of shops, restaurants and bars? Or would you be willing to drive to nearby businesses?
- Think about what you don’t want in a neighborhood, too. If you can’t stand late-night noise, you’ll probably want to steer clear of the college area or an area with a lively bar scene.