Let's say you've found your dream home--that perfect house in a new community with just the right square footage to comfortably accommodate your growing family, with interior that fondly reminds you of the house you grew up in, with big windows that overlook your picturesque yard or colonial porch, with just the right number of bathrooms so that there are no foreseeable lineups on those hectic Monday mornings. But choosing a new home to move to is only half the battle. After all, it's not enough to love the space inside the walls of your home, the feeling of comfort and peace of mind should go with you when you step out of your doors too.
Doing Your Community Research
If you are planning on moving to a new neighborhood, you should always do extensive community research on the potential area first. Your best resource for this is of course your real estate agent. He or she can provide you with insider's tips. But just to save you and your agent a lot of time, it's good practice to do your own research beforehand. This helps you think of the right questions to ask your real estate agent, for when you do meet. Try to ask questions that delve deeper into any concerns you may have once a base-knowledge of the community or neighborhood has been established.
Using Research Tools
The internet has no shortage of resource tools to aid in your research on new communities. A good place to start is Neighborhood Scout, a site that nicely summarizes different areas in the US alongside info on public schools and crime rates. Another helpful tool is City Data, a database that compiles useful and comprehensive statistical information across different topics for geographical designation, including counties, cities, towns, villages, and neighborhoods. There are countless other tools to make use of, including general search engines. Simply Google the name of the area and see what comes up on news sites, blogs, or online forums. As this content can sometimes be highly subjective or be accurate but not quite up to date, some of the information you find should be taken with a grain of salt.
Plan your financing well by estimating the cost of moving to your desired new community. Consider calculating the cost of living in the neighborhood, comparing it with the expected household income once you move there. Finances can make or break a deal, so be sure not to overlook this aspect of relocation.
Visiting The Neighborhood
Statistics can be helpful in giving empirical data on new communities about things such as demographics, economics, weather, and crime rates. While these are helpful in creating your expectations for the community, it's also important to do your own field work. This may be logistically difficult to achieve for some, but there is no substitute for going to a place and seeing and experiencing things there for yourself. When possible, plan multiple visits at different times of the day (e.g. in the morning, afternoon, and nighttime) to get a feel of the traffic, noise pollution (if any), and overall atmosphere. You can even contact one of us at Tarvin Realtors and we'd be glad to show you around the neighborhood!
Try and explore neighborhood amenities like:
- parks and recreational centers
- public buildings (e.g. libraries)
- health establishment
- financial centers
- transportation system
- road infrastructure
- whatever establishment is a priority for your lifestyle
Take mental notes on your observations and find ways to talk to your would-be neighbors. Don't stop at your neighborhood, explore neighboring communities to see what's accessible to residents in your new community. Our list of communities is a good place to start for those wondering about neighborhoods in Bergen County, NJ.
Meeting With Your Real Estate Agent
While there are many things written online to aid you in your research (such as this very blog post), there are just as many things left unwritten about your new community that only your real estate agent can provide. After all, he or she is the expert on the area and is able to give you indispensable insight and personal advice on matters. Bring your research findings and questions based on those findings to your agent have him or her clarify things for you. Your real estate agent will bring not only experience and firsthand knowledge of the community in question, but also big-picture knowledge within the context of real estate market trends.
Do you have any questions about Ridgewood, or the surrounding communities? Talk to one of the local experts from Tarvin Realtors today.