You’ve found the home you’ve been looking for, down to the perfect color of granite countertops in the kitchen and the sparkling faucets in the bathrooms. But is it your dream home? You won’t know that until you also consider the neighborhood.
When you buy a home, you also buy into all the pros and cons of the surrounding area. While the home may meet your highest requirements, if the neighborhood is lacking, you aren’t likely to be happy living there.
Recently the Denver Post offered some common and not-so-common issues to consider:
Walkability: Can you walk to work? Your children’s school? The grocery store? Most people prefer a home that’s close to their daily activities and surrounding amenities. You can find the walkability score of your prospective home at http://www.walkscore.com; any score over 70 is ideal.
Proximity to physical activity: Is the home near parks and bike and jogging trails? If keeping active is important to you, take note of such amenities, including bike lanes and even sidewalks that accommodate those who like to walk for their exercise.
Proximity to supermarket with fresh produce: Studies have shown that having a supermarket that sells fresh produce nearby is associated with lower obesity rates. (The converse is also true: Proximity to a store that doesn’t sell fresh product is linked to higher obesity rates.)
Proximity to farmer’s market: Again, studies show that communities that support a farmers’ market are healthier.
Clean living: Is the neighborhood unpolluted? Check the quality of water and air at http://scorecard.goodguide.com/. After entering your zip code and clicking “Get Report,” you’ll find information about toxic chemicals, lead hazards and water quality in the area.
Community: Do the neighbors like each other? This question isn’t important just because you might like to attend a block party every now and then. “Residents of close-knit neighborhoods,” notes the Post, “are more likely to work together to keep their neighborhoods safe and look out for one another, creating a healthy social environment, than those who live in disconnected communities.”