What Makes a Great Neighborhood?

Whether you are buying a house in Appleton or the North Pole, location matters!

What's your neighborhood have going for it?

What's your neighborhood have going for it?

One of the top things to consider when you are in the process of buying a home is the neighborhood.  We've all the heard the old phrase repeated over and over;  "Location, location, location".  But what makes an awesome location to live in?  The truth is, it often depends on your situation.  If you are an empty-nester, you certainly have different needs than a family buying their first home.  But let's take a look at some of the things that are universally understood as big giant PLUS signs when it comes to buying a property- what makes a great neighborhood?

1.  Neighborhood Pride 

We can all tell when people have pride in their neighborhood.  A flower box here, Christmas lights there - when people are proud of where they live, they show it! That's why I encourage buyers to really walk around a neighborhood and get a general feeling for it before purchasing a home.  You'll quickly get the vibe from people who are out and about.  Are they friendly or are they a bit sour?  Are they mowing their yard, or tossing another beer can into the abandoned car in the back yard?  Hey, I know it won't always be that obvious, but you can tell a lot about a place just by spending a few minutes walking around.

2. Local Business Presence

The vibrance and potential growth of a neighborhood can also be predicted by the state of local businesses.  Is your neighborhood near a thriving coffee shop?  Are the local "watering holes" classy or scummy?  Is there an independent bookshop, jewelry shop, or even a well-kept convenience store near by?  Much like people taking care of their houses,  how a business chooses to maintain itself on the outside often points to the quality of what is happening on the inside!   You should be able to tell if a local business is truly invested in the neighborhood or not.  If it is, then you've probably found yourself a good spot.

3. Schools and Facilities

Schools are always a good measure of how a neighborhood stacks up.  Even if you don't have kids in school,  being in neighborhoods that are known for having good schools is going to boost the value of your property and the properties around you, adding to the general morale of the area.   And good schools attract people who are, on average, better educated.   These people often tend to invest a lot of time and energy into making their neighborhood the best neighborhood.  So as you can see, having a great school in the neighborhood of the house you are thinking of buying can only lead to good things.

Aside from schools, some neighborhoods have community gathering spots, libraries, or gyms such as the YMCA nearby.  These types of facilities also contribute to a more active way of life for community members, which in turn boosts the vibrance of the community.

4. Walkability and Transportation

"Walkability" is definitely a buzzword that has gained favor in the last few years - for good reason!  Being able to walk to great businesses, community events, and nature (wooded parks, etc.) is good for everybody!  More exercise, less transportation costs, and more chances to invest the money you are saving in gas for supporting local businesses.  Also, living close to a bus stop or train station can be a huge advantage, especially in larger cities. 

What do YOU think makes a great neighborhood?  Leave me your thoughts in the comment box below.