When you’re in the process of building a new home, it’s easy to focus on the house—the physical structure where you’ll eat, sleep, entertain, and relax. And of course that’s important. But you don’t just live in your house. You also live in a neighborhood. You’ll have interactions with neighbors (how much is up to you) and your family will be affected by what’s going on around you.
That impact can be both social and financial. Your interactions with others and enhance or detract from your enjoyment of your home. And the way your neighborhood evolves physically can also have financial implications should you decide to sell at some point.
So how do you choose a neighborhood that will mature well? What are some of the things to look for that indicate that as the neighborhood ages, it will still be a comfortable and inviting place to live? There are obviously some intangibles, but here are a few things that can indicate that you’ll be happy in your new location for years to come.
Assuming you’re looking for a neighborhood and not isolation, you’ll want to look for an area that has some sense of structure to it. That doesn’t mean “cookie-cutter” design in which all the houses and streets look the same. But does the neighborhood feel like a neighborhood—the kind of neighborhood you’re after?
Sure, new houses are going to look great, but check around and look at some homes that have been in the area for a while. Are the homes being kept well? Does it look like neighbors care about their property? What about landscaping? There’s a lot of natural beauty in the Poconos, but what about the areas immediately around the houses? Are there signs of neighbors making improvements?
Not everybody likes to do the same thing. Some people want more interaction than others. But are there opportunities for people to interact if they want to? Is there a sense of identity to the neighborhood?
Are others still interested in moving into the neighborhood? One way to gauge this is to see if properties for sale stay on the market a long time—or move within a reasonable amount of time. This can be a little tricky in an area such as ours in which housing was hit hard, but you’ll want to get a sense that the neighborhood still has appeal and is drawing in people you want to be around.
The Sniff Test
We’re really not talking about how the neighborhood smells. The sniff test is essentially an overall sense that the neighborhood feels comfortable. It’s a bit subjective, but do you get a sense of well-being and permanence when you walk or drive through the area?
Most of us plan to stay in our new homes for a while. And while we can do a lot to make sure that the inside of our home is comfortable and welcoming, it’s important that the neighborhood we’re in feels comfortable and welcoming—and will continue to feel that way for the duration of our stay. Click here to take a look at six great neighborhoods where we currently build—neighborhoods you’d be happy in for years to come.