We all want to live in a great neighborhood, but what exactly makes a neighborhood great? Like many things in real estate, it’s subjective and you can ask ten people and get ten different answers. “Great” can be defined in so many different ways that it’s next to impossible to provide any one definitive list, but we thought we’d take a moment and compile a list of some of the most common elements we hear about from the buyers we work with.
Criteria for Great Neighborhoods
Location will always make the top of just about every list in real estate. The old phrase “location, location, location” exists for a reason. People want to live in a location that works for them. For many, location is a combination of distances from work, school, shops and restaurants, and other people such as friends and family. For some people any one of these can outweigh the others – we know plenty of people that will live anywhere to make their commute time shorter and others who can’t move far enough away from their family. Like everything, it’s all about personal choices.
Price plays a huge role in decision making too. As you’ll see, there’s a theme building here. Price too is subjective. There are some who feel the price of homes in The Dominion make it a great neighborhood, while we know there are some of you sitting there right now shaking your heads at that thought. What is affordable to you is typically the basis of this point although plenty of people tie the personal value of a neighborhood to the dollar value of the neighborhood.
If you have school age children, the area schools are more than likely going to play a huge role in your thoughts about any neighborhood. (Who says, “boy, I sure do hope the schools here are terrible,” while looking at a house?) “Are the schools good?,” is a question we hear often.
Amenities factor in to decision making too. With the summer heat, access to a pool can be important, but of course some people would prefer the privacy of a pool or swim spa in their own backyard over a community pool.
The homes themselves can also factor into the “great” status of a neighborhood. Quality of construction, willingness of the builder to back their homes through warranties and future service, stability of the builder (we saw several builders leave our market after the housing crisis in 2008-2009), actual design and development of the land while building out the neighborhood, and both the use/functionality and aesthetics of the homes being built can affect the general public’s view of whether or not a neighborhood is great. We’ve even seen cases where the neighborhood started out looking like it would be easily be classified as a great neighborhood, only to have opinions change as the build-out of the neighborhood changed.
In the end, what makes a neighborhood great is the people. Neighborhoods are a mix of different people with different ideas, beliefs, dreams, passions, and needs, but when they all come together to create something more than just a handful of streets sprinkled with physical houses, but instead create a community…that makes all the difference in the world. A great neighborhood is a great community, where the people are just important as the factors listed above. We can all be great neighbors and be a part of being a great neighborhood, all we have to do is participate.
image courtesy of Life Lenses