How to Choose the Right Neighborhood

Albany NY Suburban Neighborhood

While you can change many things about a house, changing its location is not one of them. Finding the right neighborhood and community to settle down in is sometimes even harder than finding your dream home. In fact, deciding where to live often dictates the type of house that you buy. To help you narrow your search and choose the right neighborhood for you, our real estate agents in Guilderland, Latham, Albany & Colonie recommend following these four steps.

4 Steps to Choosing the Right Neighborhood

Step 1: Think About What You’re Looking for in a Neighborhood

You may even want to write-out a prioritized list that you can share with your real estate agent, with your “must-haves” at the top. Start by considering the things that your current neighborhood is lacking. Other questions that our real estate agents will often ask homebuyers: “Do you have or are you planning to have kids?” “How far are you willing to commute?” “Do you prefer historic neighborhoods or new housing developments?” “Do you need a big yard?” and “Do you want to live within walking distance of shops and restaurants?”

Step 2: Do Your Homework

The next step is to research which neighborhoods in the Albany Capital Region best fit your list of wants. Start by looking for information online, or ask a local real estate agent for recommendations. Once you’ve narrowed in on a few neighborhoods (or maybe just one), start digging into the details. Learn about the schools, look up crime statistics, ask about neighborhood associations and whether or not there are restrictions or fees, inquire about parks and recreation in the area, and get familiar with local shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

Step 3: Go for Visit

Once you’ve done all the background research, visit the neighborhoods that made the first cut in person. Try to go on a weekend, as well as during the week for an accurate picture of what life will be like in the neighborhood. Do the streets have curb appeal? Is it too noisy or too quiet? Does the air smell clean, or are there strange odors that don’t appeal to you? Look for warning signs, such as vandalism, abandoned buildings, disabled cars parked in driveways, and too many “for sale” signs.

Step 4: Talk to the Locals

Chat up the sales associate at a local store, or the server at a restaurant, and get his or her take on the local neighborhood and community. Ask prospective neighbors what they do and don’t like about the area. Find out where they like to go for entertainment, recreation, shopping and food, or get the dirt on which spots to avoid.

Most importantly, don’t ignore your gut instinct. First impressions offer valuable insight. Did you instantly get a good feeling? Can you imagine yourself living here? If you’re already picturing yourself grabbing your morning latte at a local coffee shop, or imagining walking your dog down the tree-lined streets – you’ve probably found the right neighborhood!

Get Help from a Neighborhood Expert

With more than 50 real estate agents in Guilderland, Latham, Colonie and Albany NY, no one knows more about the local neighborhoods and communities than CM Fox. Not only do we live and work here, but many of us have lived here our whole lives. We sincerely look forward to sharing everything we know and love about the area with you, and we have the knowledge and experience to help you choose the right neighborhood for you. Contact us or call (518) 861-7030 to speak directly with a local real estate agent.