When looking to build or buy a new home, choosing the right neighborhood is critical for your family’s everyday quality of life. There are many factors (economic, social, lifestyle) to consider when identifying a location and community that suits your family’s needs, and it’s not always easy to know where or how to begin your search. That’s where our expert comes in! Katelyn Bailey Van Metre HomesMeet Katelyn Bailey, Internet Sales and Marketing Coordinator at Van Metre Homes. Katelyn has helped countless individuals, couples and families choose the right home in the right location for their budget, interests, and lifestyle, and is eager to do the same for you! Here are a few tips from Katelyn to help you find the right neighborhood for you and your family.

Consider How Long You’ll Live There

The first thing to consider is how long you plan to live in this home and neighborhood. For example, if you are a first-time homebuyer looking at a townhome or condo that you only plan to live in for 5-7 years, you may want to prioritize location above all else — ahead of fixtures and upgrades within the home itself. Being in a good location can make your day-to-day life better and easier during that time, and can lead to a higher resale value later on.

Plan for Your Future

Once you have a good idea of how long you plan to stay in your new home and neighborhood, start thinking about your future plans. If you’re a young couple just starting out, for example, school district rankings might be an important factor to consider if you plan to have children within the next few years. Being in a location within a good school district will also help you get a better resale value down the road, if you plan to eventually sell.

Research Amenities

Take your lifestyle into consideration when seeking out potential neighborhoods, and look into the amenities that your potential neighborhoods have to offer. If fitness is important to you, look into local fitness centers nearby. If you love nature, look into hiking, walking and bike trails, or parks and green spaces close to the home you’re considering. Bonus tip: many of our communities offer great amenities such as fitness centers, outdoor pools, yoga rooms and easy access to walking trails and parks. Explore your options!

Map Out Commuter Routes

This is particularly true in Northern Virginia, where traffic is pretty heavy around the D.C. metro area during rush hour. When considering a neighborhood, choose a location that’s close to major commuter routes and map out more than one option to get an idea of what your daily commute will be like. Bonus tip: to get a good idea of what your commute will be like in a particular neighborhood, listen to the local radio. You can read online about what roads are best to take, but listening to the local radio during peak commuting times will give you a better idea of where accidents commonly occur, or what routes become especially congested.

Look for Nearby Grocery Stores

It’s understandable for home buyers to want to put some distance between their residential area and commercial areas to gain more land and space, but remember — everyone needs to go to the grocery store! And considering how often we need to buy groceries, it helps to have a store nearby, especially when you forget to a key recipe ingredient and have to run back out. In sum — there many factors to consider as a new home buyer, and location is one of the most important things to research. Keep your future plans, lifestyle, personal preferences and everyday logistics in mind when choosing the neighborhood that’s right for you and your family. Be prepared to make a few compromises on certain features within the home itself, particularly if you are a first-time homebuyer that will likely resell in 5-7 years. ---------- Looking for more home buying advice from a seasoned expert at Van Metre Homes? Check out Ernie Kyger’s tips for first-time homebuyers.