Neighborhoods are like children in the same family; all have the same last name (“neighborhood“), yet different personalities. So, how do you find the personality fitting you and your family’s lifestyle? Finding the neighborhood and home of your dreams in Scottsdale is easy and fun if you follow these 5 steps.
STEP 1: Make a Profile of Your Perfect Neighborhood
Before you start looking at neighborhoods, turn the magnifying glass back on yourself.
With your family, write down what you are looking for in a new neighborhood. You may have to make compromises: Agree on the “must-haves”, put them on the top of your list; and the “would- like-to-haves” at the bottom.
Things to consider:
- Do you have children or planning on children soon? The first thing parents do is to research the school system. Even if you don’t have kids, living in an area with sought-after schools raises property value. If you have kids, you want to know proximity to parks and community centers.
- What type of home do you want? Are you interested in a single-family home, an apartment, townhouse or co-op?
- How far are you willing to commute to work and other activities? Do you plan to drive, walk or take mass transit to work, eat, shop or for fitness, golf or tennis?
- Do you want to be in a historic neighborhood or a new development? Historic neighborhoods have character, but often require repair. Newer developments have newer features yet may cost a little more per square foot.
- What is your current community lacking? If you are landlocked and want to live on the waterfront (which we have in Scottsdale), put that at the top of your list. If you love coffee, Starbucks down the street may be a dream come true.
- Think about what you don’t want. If late-night noise is too much, you’ll want to steer clear of college areas or those with a lively bar scene.
STEP 2: Narrow in on the Area
If you’re moving within Scottsdale you may know the neighborhoods. Choose those that match your list of wants.
If you’re moving to Scottsdale from somewhere else, there will be more research involved, and this is where The Matheson Team will help.
Start by picking a part of Scottsdale to search in. For instance, if your job is located in the Airpark, start looking in a reasonable proximity to the Airpark. Then narrow it down to focus your search.
STEP 3: Mine for Information
With your area(s) in mind, start looking for information. Look online and, at the same time ask The Matheson Team for recommendations and input. There is no substitute for local knowledge.
Compile your research, including:
- School information: Look into public and private elementary, junior and high schools, as well as daycare.
- Crime statistics: We have statistics telling you how the zip code’s crime rates measure up vs. national average.
- Parks and recreation: How far is it to the closest park or recreation center?
- Neighborhood associations: Does the community have one, and, if so, what are the guidelines and fees.
- Tourist attractions: Get a guidebook or check out the tourism bureau’s website to see all that the city offers.
STEP 4: Investigate in Person
With research in your pocket, visit neighborhoods in person. There’s no better way to paint a picture. Use your senses for a complete view.
- First impression. What is the first thing that strikes you about the neighborhood? Do the homes have curb appeal? Are the houses well-maintained? Are shops and restaurants inviting? This helps you feel good about where you call home and when you are ready to move on it will make buyers feel good too.
- Visualize yourself in the community. Think of your daily routine. Where is the bus-stop, can kids walk to school? Where will you walk your dog, go jogging or play golf or tennis?
- Go through the neighborhood at different times. You get a snapshot of good and bad. What is it like during rush hours? Are neighbors and kids socializing or do people keep to themselves? Are the streets well-lit at night? Visual clues can help you decide if you’ll fit in.
- Grade local schools. Whether or not you have children, pay a visit to the nearby schools. High ratings are great, but seeing the buildings is telling too.
- Look for warning signs. Be on the lookout for signs that the neighborhood is in trouble. Do you see abandoned buildings or vandalism? Are there a lot of “For Sale” signs or rentals? If the community goes downhill, so does your home’s value.
- Stop and listen. Bird sounds are pleasant; do you hear highway, hospital, train tracks or other noises?
- Talk to your future neighbors. Knock on a door or two and ask how they like the area. Get the scoop on pluses and minuses. Ask what they want to change. What’s their favorite place to hang out? If neighbors are rude to you, it may not be the community you want to live in.
- Visit and try out local fitness and club facilities.
- Talk to more people. The best information you get is from people in the community and people who work there. Ask your waiter when you eat at the local restaurant, or the gas station attendant to spill what they know about your chosen neighborhood.
- Are there any? This is another reason to visit neighborhoods in person, you can’t experience unpleasant smells on the internet, but smells can affect your decision to live in an area. Take a big whiff of the air, and ask around if you smell any odors.
- No, I’m not suggesting your new home is made of gingerbread. Ask yourself if the neighborhood matches your taste — and if it meets your criteria. Just because it’s a nice neighborhood doesn’t mean it’s the one for you. Trust your gut feeling — after all, you have to live there.
STEP 5: Find the House
You found the neighborhood, now find a house you love. Luckily, you’ve narrowed it down to a few streets. Make sure to:
- Find out how much house you can afford. Use our mortgage calculator. Ask the Matheson Team for lender recommendations to get prequalified.
- Compare your loan options. Ask questions to find out what mortgage is right for you. Decide between fixed and adjustable rate mortgages and talk with a variety of lenders.
- Draw up your vision of home. It worked for your neighborhood — now think about what you want in a home. Write your own vision of home and stick to it while house hunting. Learn about home styles and decide which is right for you.
- Find the perfect house! Your Realtor can help you evaluate all the possible properties that meet your criteria, and set up showing appointments for each one. With your Realtor’s input you can narrow down the list of possibilities to the best options. Your Realtor will also be able to help you evaluate which property has the best resale potential, and guide you in making an offer.
Call your Scottsdale Real Estate experts at The Matheson Team at 480-360-0281 or use the contact form below. We can help you with the steps above and make your work simpler.
Realtor | Founder
The Matheson Team – RE/MAX Fine Properties
21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255