When you’re looking to buy a house, it’s easy to get caught up in your must-haves for the property itself. But what about the location? It’s just as important to pick the right area for your lifestyle and your family. 

In an ideal world, you’ll be able to find something that offers the best of both. But for most people, buying a house is a balancing act of finding the right property in the right neighborhood that’s conducive to the most important aspects of your life. 

So how do you find that perfect blend? Start by asking yourself these 5 questions about the neighborhoods you’re interested in.

1. Is the market and pricing in-line with your budget?

This is the first thing you need to consider. Be realistic – is the market in the area reasonable for your budget? Can you afford the type of house you want in this neighborhood? If you’re on the fence, consider the next few factors in this list to help make your decision. Ask yourself if the area is worth cutting back on your house must-haves. If the area is spectacular, sometimes it’s worth paying more for a little less house. But you should consider all factors before making that kind of call.

2. What’s the commute situation?

This is such an important factor that people often tend to drop to the bottom of the list when looking. Sure, a 90-minute commute might not seem bad when you’re first falling in love with a property. But when you’re sitting in traffic, twice a day, five days per week, you might regret picking the area you did. And if you rely on public transit, this is an even more essential question to consider. If you need to metro to work, and the nearest station is miles away, it’s not going to work well for long.

Realistically consider the commute and ask yourself how it will impact your quality of life. If you’re going to spend all of your time in transit between work and home, rather than with friends and family, it might not be worth it…no matter how much you love the house.

3. How are the schools?

If you have kids, then we don’t need to tell you to consider the schools. But if you don’t have kids, it’s easy to overlook the school district you’re moving into. However, if there’s a chance of kids being in your future, you should see how the schools stack up.

4. Does the area fit your lifestyle?

Do you like being able to walk to the grocery store or to grab dinner and drinks? Or do you prefer having more space between you and your neighbors? Do you want to be able to walk your dog or take your kids to the park? Or do you prefer having a big yard for them to play in?

Make sure that the neighborhood you’re considering will fit with your lifestyle.  And just like the schools factor, it’s worth considering how the area fits your lifestyle now as well as in the future. If you want kids, make sure that you feel comfortable raising them in the neighborhood you’ve chosen. 

5. Does the neighborhood have the amenities you want?

Think about essential stores and amenities you use frequently right now. Then take a look at the neighborhood you’re considering. Where’s the closest grocery store? What about restaurants, dry cleaners, gas stations, ect.? If you like to order takeout or have your groceries delivered, are the services you use available in the area? 

Ready, set, shop!

By asking yourself these five questions, you can ensure that you don’t just love your home, but are happy overall with living in your new space. Once you’ve narrowed your neighborhood criteria along with your must-haves for your new property, start working with an agent who’s an expert on the area to make sure you get the best of both lists.

Want more tips like this to make buying your new home even easier? Check out our homebuyer seminars or give us a call today! Our team knows the DC Metro area better than anyone else, so we can help you find your dream house in your dream neighborhood.