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Seeking best house-hunting tips

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Number one thing to consider is the neighborhood. It can be a great house but lousy neighbors will make you miserable.


So true.


We are in the beginning stages of a move, too, and wondering how on earth to be sure we end up with the same types of great neighbors we have now (well, with the exception of one!)... Any tips on that would be great! It's hard to picture going door to door to ask the prospective neighbors, "Are there any crazy loons in this neighborhood? Stroller-weilding psychopaths on the sidewalks?" ...With my luck, I'd ask the crazy loon of the neighborhood!


For the OP, we listed our must-haves in a house, and also our bonuses.


One must-have, for us, is a library and a park within walking distance. That has narrowed our search quite a bit. Hopefully you are more flexible on those points. :)

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I have found that demographic searches are incredibly helpful. I find neighborhoods that resemble neighborhoods I have lived in before and like. I also find neighborhoods with similar type of people to us. That is what I like- more well educated neighbors, more long time married neighbors, etc. Others can find whatever they like. It has worked for us very well in all of our US moves since 1999 (four moves).

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We are closing on our third house Wednesday morning. Some of the things we looked for were:


1. Location - how busy is the street? Is it near any highways or busy roads that could cause noise/pollution? Is it a neighborhood the kids can bike, scooter, and walk in (beyond just our street)? How is access to main roads and work commute?


2. Layout - think of how your family lives and decide if the layout will work, especially the kitchen. We have three children and wanted everyone's bedroom on the same level. What style home do you prefer and then think hard about what that style would be like to live in (ie. we have always had a rambler/ranch and are going to a two story; while the one level living is convenient, it is really hard to keep clean and there is no privacy when having company). Are there enough commons areas for everyone to do their thing?


3. Resale - I consider this very carefully because someday we will sell and I don't want to be stuck with a hard sale because of some undesirable I could have avoided in purchase.


4. Yard - what will you use it for and how big do you want?


5. Age and condition of the big stuff - windows, siding, roof, furnace, air conditioner, water heater, etc. This stuff is costly to replace.


Look past the cosmetic things that are easy to fix. Paint is cheap, furniture leaves with the sellers, homes can be cleaned, even flooring, lighting, and bathroom counters are all relatively easy to change. Pay attention to the bigger stuff that isn't easy to change later.


Another thing we always did with homes we had interest in was to drive through and observe at different times of day. This way you can see traffic patterns, number of children outside playing, neighbors out and doing their thing (or not). It's a great way of scoping out what kind of people live there.


Good luck!

Edited by Blessedchaos
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