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Get To Know Your New Neighborhood BEFORE You Buy!

The panic buying that occurred during the pandemic appears to have come to an end (at least for now) and gone are the days where buyers, transplanting to a new city, need to buy a home in that new city sight unseen. Now that the housing market has returned to some level of normalcy, buyers should take the opportunity to really get to know the neighborhood they think they want to buy in, before making the decision to submit an offer. Often, prospective buyers believe they want to live in a neighborhood because of the school district or just because of the neighborhood’s reputation, but is it really the right fit for them?

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Photo by Austin Monthly/Rudy Ximenez

Let’s look at some easy ways to figure out which neighborhood works best for you!

Understand your needs

First and foremost, you need to understand what you want out of your neighborhood. What does a typical day for you look like. Are you a coffee shop enthusiast? Do you wake up early in the morning to go to the gym? How important is the school district to you in your current stage of life? Do you often cook at home or do you tend to eat out at restaurants? How long are you willing to spend in the car each morning and evening commuting to and from work? Is it important to you to be close to a hospital? Thinking through these and other similar questions can help you create the perfect needs list.

Talk to a local realtor

A quality realtor knows that to provide a truly great client experience, you need to do more than find a house that meets the client’s needs, you also need to find the best neighborhood based on the clients needs. When talking to prospective realtors ask them to provide their honest feedback on any neighborhoods you want to start your home search in, but also ask them to suggest a few as well based on the needs and wants you describe. Realtors spend their days in the coffee shops and cafes of the neighborhoods they work in. They are typically very familiar with what makes each neighborhood unique and desirable (or undesirable) for their clientele. PLUS, your realtor may even have past clients who live in your desired neighborhoods and can give their insight on the neighborhood. Your realtor’s feedback and suggestions could be vital in helping you find the right neighborhood for you. If you haven’t started working with a realtor yet, LendFriend can recommend a great, reputable realtor from their network. Just fill out this quick form, and we’ll get you in touch with a local expert.

Turn to the internet and social media

Now that you’ve thought through your needs and had a baseline discussion with a local realtor, it’s time to turn to the internet! Ask your realtor to set up a home search for you that shows listings in each of your desired neighborhoods. Using some of the homes you like in that search as samples you can run Google searches for nearby cafes, grocery stores, gyms, medical services, museums, parks, religious centers, restaurants, schools, shops, etc. This will give you the best and most objective lay of the land and from there, you can start to determine the quality of the businesses in each category by reading some of the google reviews for each of them! It’s helpful to not only see what’s out there, but to also get the opinions of those who have visited.

It is also highly recommended to go on websites like Yelp, Eater or blogs that are local to your city (i.e., Austin) to understand the “Best Gyms in and nearby Central East Austin”. Keep in mind that some bloggers have now taken to Instagram and TikTok to tell their stories, so there may be accounts featuring your new neighborhood that are useful to you on those platforms. The internet has made it possible to rank and review nearly every establishment and service out there, so take advantage of it! Just make sure to take some reviews with a grain of salt as all reviewers can have their own biases.

Take your new neighborhood for a test drive

If you are moving to an entirely new city or even a new neighborhood that’s all the way across town, take the time to plan a vacation in your top neighborhood of choice. Rent an Airbnb or book a room at a nearby hotel and go to all the places your research has given you. Pretend you’re already living in your new neighborhood and live a regular day. You may find that you love it more than anticipated or the commute to work is much longer than you initially thought. Buying a home in a new neighborhood isn’t easy (especially if that neighborhood is also in a new city) and you want to make sure it’s the right move. You can also spend the day looking at second and third ranked neighborhoods on your list for comparison, which can help sure up your selection.

Get started with LendFriend

Planning your move to a new city can be stressful but doing the research to make sure you are living in an ideal (or close to ideal) neighborhood for you is incredibly rewarding and will make your homebuying experience that much better. LendFriend is an Austin based local lender servicing borrowers nationwide, which makes us experts in everything Austin. If you need an Austin neighborhood guide to help your search, you can click here to check out one compiled by our team. If we can help get in any other way, please give us a call at 512.881.5099 or apply now, and one of our loan officers will be in touch as soon as we review the application.

About the Author:

Mike and his team comprised of mortgage professionals who have decades of combined experience and have closed hundreds of mortgage loans across multiple states are passionately committed to this country’s service members.