When my husband and I moved into our first apartment as a young married couple, we thought we had arrived! A large three-bedroom apartment on the third floor with a great view of green space in Augusta, Georgia. We were close to the golf course, shopping, and a major highway that went straight to Fort Gordon (where he was stationed at the time). After about a month, we noticed some things that we were not too happy with – high traffic going into and out of the second-floor apartment, teenagers hanging out outside of the ground floor apartment, and evidently a thief somewhere along the way who broke into our truck. We have learned a lot since that time and here are some things that can help you identify if the neighborhood you are moving into is right for you:
- Check the crime statistics for the area – let’s face it, there is probably going to be some crime, but is is property or violent crime? Are there a lot of drug offenses in the area? Or are they mostly petty theft and traffic infractions?
- Decide if schools are important – If you homeschool your children being in an area with good schools may not be a priority, but you may want to live in a community with a lot of activities or one that is close to cultural centers.
- Is the commute to base (or work) a factor? – The closer you get to the city, the more expensive the homes and the smaller the lots and sizes become. Are you willing to compromise a long commute for what you really want in a home for your family?
- Community Development Districts (CDDs) –
- Many moving into Florida have heard stories about the dreaded CDDs, but in actuality, they aren’t that bad. CDDs are generally accompanied by lower Homeowner Association (HOA) fees, but they help to preserve the atmosphere of the community. As someone who lives in a community with CDDs, I have no problem with paying them because the benefits outweigh the cost!
- Pet Restrictions – Are there special considerations you need to take into account regarding pets? If you have pets that may be considered undesirable (i.e. aggressive breeds, oversized animals, or animals that can be considered livestock), be sure to let your real estate agent know about the accommodations you will require for your pets.
The best source you can have to identify your neighborhood of choice is your Realtor. As the acknowledged experts in properties, your agent is in the best position to find the perfect home and the perfect neighborhood for you..