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3 Steps to Choosing the Right Neighborhood for Your New Home Plan

Finding a great neighborhood is one of the first steps on the road to moving into a new home. Read on to learn our tips for choosing the best neighborhood for your new home plan.

1. Create your neighborhood wish list.

Brainstorm before you hit the streets. Create a list of “must-have” features, as well as a list of “nice-to-have” elements you’re looking for in a neighborhood. What to consider:

Have children, or plan to have them? Your ideal neighborhood might have great schools, accessible parks and nearby community centers.

Transportation options. Urban centers will have bus routes; rural areas will most likely not. What would your ideal commute look like? Inner-city dwellers often walk to work; those who live in farther out bedroom communities typically spend more time driving or busing to work.

Type of homes. Your new home plan will need to be on par with existing structures in order to preserve property value.

Think about both what you do want and what you absolutely do not want. If that summer you spent living above a bar taught you that you hate late-night noise, you’ll want to stay away from urban locations. Likewise, if you’ve always dreamed of walking to the store to pick up groceries, walkability should be on your “nice-to-have” list.

2. Gather details about each neighborhood.

Once you have a list of criteria that matter to you, you can gather information about prospective neighborhoods and plug your data into an excel sheet. This will allow you to quickly compare each option according to your top preferences. For instance, one column might be for “Good Schools?” You can mark yes or no for each neighborhood, or even give each neighborhood a ranking.

Here are a few characteristics people often research when looking into neighborhoods:

Crime rates. You can often find information on this through real estate sites, simply by typing in a zip code.

Schools, from daycare all the way through high school.

Neighborhood associations.These boards set rules regarding lawn care, exterior paint colors and much more. The neighborhood association may also have restrictions on which house plans may be built.

Parks, recreation centers and other attractions are important to many families. Additionally, nearby tourist attractions are convenient when you have relatives visiting.

3. Visit each neighborhood at different times of day.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to three or four neighborhoods, it’s time to start visiting each one. Go at different times of day so you don’t miss any potential frustrations. For instance, if you visit a neighborhood only at midday, you won’t be able to tell what rush-hour traffic is like.

Imagine you and your family in this area. Would you be able to easily obtain your requisite morning coffee, for instance? How is the street lighting? Is there a good place to walk the dog? Are families out enjoying their yards in the evening, or are residents more private and withdrawn? Also be sure to visit the schools; parents will need to know if their children would feel comfortable and academically challenged. Even if you don’t have children, school quality certainly contributes to home values.

Finally, look out for warning signs that the neighborhood may be going downhill. Abandoned buildings, vandalism, unfinished home plans and too many foreclosures are details that show this area will probably not see improving property values going forward.

Once you’ve found a great neighborhood, you’ll need to find a lot. Many cities are selling smaller lots where narrow house plans excel. Here at Mascord, we create stunning, comfortable home plans for all kinds of lots, including narrow, small and sloped properties. We can help you find a house plan that fits your lifestyle, your new neighborhood and the lot itself.

Note: The home shown above is The Madewood House Plan 22189.