How to Decide Where You Want to Live in Mid-Missouri
When you decide to make a move, you will need to start by figuring out where exactly you want to live. As you begin to narrow down your home search location, we recommend really getting to know the neighborhoods in which you are looking. Buying a home is a huge investment, and you want to be confident you are making the right choice on a location. Mid-Missouri is full of amazing neighborhoods, each with its own appeal. You should carefully evaluate your needs and desires when choosing a place to search for homes to buy. Asking yourself these 6 questions will help you determine where you want to live.
1. Is the area near places I visit often?
Think about where you go most often. People typically want to live near the places they frequent, or hope to frequent. Do you commute daily to work? If so, how close would you like to be to your job? How far away are your family and friends that you want to spend the most time with? What stores, restaurants, and recreational facilities do you go to most often, and how far away are those from areas you are considering buying a home in? Think about where you spend your time and evaluate how easy or difficult it may be to get to those places so you aren’t stuck driving long distances to get there.
2. Is the area safe?
We recommend digging into the crime statistics of areas you are considering purchasing to help determine how safe they are. A great place to get the latest crime statistics would be the local police department. You can also often get them online from the county sheriff’s website. Pay attention to both the number and nature of crimes and whether or not they are trending upwards over time.
3. Is the area economically stable?
Pay attention to the household income and property values of the area you are considering. You can typically get this information from the local economic development office. Are property values rising or at the very least stable? How many of the homes are owner-occupied versus rentals? Are there any buildings or homes that have sat empty or have been on the market for a long time? Finding this information can give you a glimpse into the economic stability of an area.
4. Is the area a good investment?
An experienced REALTORS® can help you determine the value of your investment in a home. One of the biggest benefits of homeownership is building wealth through equity (what your home is worth minus what you owe). As your home’s value increases over time, so does your equity, but an increase in value is not guaranteed. This depends on where the home is located as well as the overall real estate market. A real estate agent can provide you with information on past appreciation and home values in a neighborhood and will have a good understanding of current market conditions to help you decide if a home is a good long-term investment.
5. Is the area within the boundaries of my preferred schools?
It is very common for people to look in a particular area because of the schools. Spend some time researching both the school district as a whole and the individual schools within that district. If you hope to send your children to specific schools, pay attention to the areas zoned for those schools. You can look online using websites such as greatschools.org to find helpful data on area schools. Another great way to get information is to visit the schools themselves. Ask about test scores, class sizes, and anything else that might be important to you. Even if you do not have children, the schools are an important consideration, because the quality of neighborhood schools often has a direct effect on resale values.
6. Does the area fit my lifestyle and preferences?
Before you buy a home, you should spend some time in the area to get a feel for the neighborhood. Are you hoping for a family-friendly neighborhood with a lot of children? Drive around to see if you spot many kids out playing. Are you looking for a quiet neighborhood? Drive through at all times of the day and pay attention to what you see and hear. What is the traffic like at different times of the day? Think about the things that matter to you and make observations about the area so you can decide if it fits what you are looking for.
When my husband and I started searching for our first home, we had a young daughter and knew that a kid-friendly neighborhood was very important to us. Driving through our neighborhood in the summertime, we were thrilled to see the streets, sidewalks, and backyards filled with kids playing. This helped us know that we were moving into an area where many young kids lived and had a huge potential for our daughter to make new friends.
On the flip side, we have four schools at either end of our neighborhood. I saw this as a positive, but what I didn’t think about was how it would affect traffic in our neighborhood. What I wish I had done during our search was drive the area during school drop-off and pick-up times. The traffic and backups from the drop-off and pick-up lines have been a source of frustration at times that I wish I had known to anticipate.
We recommend taking some time to think about the area and what is around. Then choose some different times to drive through or just sit and observe the area to help you get a good feeling for what it is like living there.
Buying a home is a huge investment and that is why it is so important to really get to know an area before you purchase, so you can feel confident that it will fit your needs and desires for years to come. Our Buyer Specialists know Mid-Missouri and can help you find a great fit for your next home. They will sit down with you and help you narrow down your home search based on your own personal wants and needs. If you have any questions or would like to request a free, no-obligation Buyer Strategy Session, contact us today or fill out the form below to get started.