Where you live affects everything about your lifestyle. Every. Single. Day.
Please re-read the above statement and let it sink in.
Why? Because finding a location that matches your wants and needs is critical to your happiness in your home and daily life.
Think about this … you can always change or alter something you don’t like about a particular home. You can paint over an awful color in the bedroom, upgrade a kitchen with new stainless appliances, or even budget for a large family room addition.
What you can’t do is change the location!
No matter how much you may love everything about your new home, if you are frustrated with your neighborhood, or it doesn’t fit with who you are or who you want to be, you will never be satisfied.
Keep in mind that you could find a similar neighborhood with the same feel and conveniences as a favorite neighborhood, and it could be more in line with your price range.
That is why not limiting yourself and doing research on all sorts of neighborhoods is worth your time before you start house hunting. There could be a hidden gem just for you!
First, we will cover how you can learn more about neighborhoods and provide some research tips. Then we will give you some guidance on how you can figure out what characteristics you most want in a community or location.
Your list of “wants, needs & musts” is what should drive your search for a home and compatible neighborhoods.
Neighborhood Research 101
If you’re ready to buy a home, schedule some time now to gather as much information as possible on different neighborhoods. Don’t cancel out certain areas since you might be surprised how compatible they are with your lifestyle and budget.
Do Some Foot Work
Even though the internet can give you lots of information, it’s still good to do some research on foot and face-to-face. Talk to people who live in the different communities you are considering.
There are many choices and new communities, so be adventurous and use these personal contacts!
• Ask friends, family, or colleagues about neighborhoods they like, have heard about, or live in. What do they enjoy most? Think about their answers and how is their life or daily habits compared to yours?
• Plan to visit friends, family, colleagues and see their neighborhoods. Meet them for lunch or dinner, walk around, visit stores. You’ll get a better feel for the atmosphere and amenities of the area. It would help if you got honest and direct answers about schools, crime, traffic, parking, etc.
• Drive around both day and night, rush hour and weekends, and as much as possible to see how the neighborhood works and functions daily.
• Find out from your contacts if their neighborhood has a good community listserv or e-newsletter and sign up! These can give you a more inside look at a particular location – events, activities, a sense of the community feel, and any ongoing concerns by neighbors. Whether it is via email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or however they may keep neighbors updated, you’ll be able to monitor posts.
Let Your Fingers Do the Walking
The internet makes it easy and convenient to get information on different neighborhoods.
• For starters, check out these sites
Why Neighborhoods Matter
The little daily habits can make a big difference in where you live. A particular neighborhood may or may not match what you love to do every day or even need to do every day. Why frustrate yourself from the get-go?
Determine what you like most about your day. Consider what you do and don’t like about your current neighborhood. Write it ALL down.
Keeping asking and answering questions such as these:
• Do you love being able to walk or bike to work? Do you love going to your local coffee house every day? Do you like to go for runs outside? Do you need to walk your dog or live near a dog park?
• Do you want to be near work and have a short commute?
• Do you love to be near restaurants, theaters, or close to more vibrant hot spots? Do you hate crowds, busy streets, and traffic?
• How important is a car and/or parking space to you? Do you want a car-free life where you can walk, bus, or bike everywhere? Or you can’t imagine your life without a car.
• Is community important to you, schools, recreation centers, or park space?
• Do you feel the need for green space, grass, trees, and lots of open space? Do you love to garden or want a large backyard for children or dogs? Or is a playground or dog park nearby sufficient?
Same Vibe, Different Neighborhood
Once you determine what you like most about specific communities, you can pinpoint which neighborhoods meet these “needs, wants & musts.”
And, if prices don’t match your budget, you can still find the same “neighborly” vibe but for less cost in another location. If your “must” is being able to walk to work or be near a bus station, then everything else could change (the home’s size, condition, etc.).
Your budget will determine what type of home you can afford in a particular neighborhood – such as a detached home, townhome, or condo unit. You can always tweak your budget or rethink some of your “musts” if you’re way off base and can’t find a comparable neighborhood.
Don’t Forget About Resale
There are certain factors in a location – both desirable and undesirable — that you should consider for resale value.
Does the neighborhood have good schools? Is the home on a busy corner lot? Crime and traffic can affect a home’s value.
Also, remember that revitalizing neighborhoods can be on your list if more popular and expensive areas are out of your price range. An up-and-coming neighborhood could be a bargain if you time it right, but do your research and be confident it’s heading upwards.
As you can see, do your research! You’ll be more satisfied with your purchase if you know about different neighborhoods. They’ll be no “what ifs” or “should haves” that will haunt you in your new home.
If you have a hard time deciding which neighborhood or neighborhoods you want to live in, I can help with that! Don’t feel like you have to have everything figured out before reaching out!
My job is to help you along the way, even before you are ready to buy. I may even be able to connect with clients that live in the neighborhoods you are considering to give you the inside scoop!
I can’t wait to hear from you. Just email me, and we can schedule a time to talk more.
I'm Tehane, a local realtor helping locals buy, sell, and stay local in Honolulu Schedule a conversation, and let's talk about your current situation and where you want to be. Then, let's create a plan to get you there. Every journey begins with the first step!
BHGRE Advantage Realty
4211 Waialae Avenue, Box 9050
Honolulu, HI. 96816