Your dream home can quickly turn into a nightmare if you build it in the wrong place. Fortunately, many potential problems can be identified with a little research and a few field trips to the neighborhood. If you’re planning to buy a new home in New Jersey soon, you’ll want to ask yourself these questions before making a decision.
How far will I have to drive to get anywhere?
Some people enjoy living miles from civilization. Others soon find that country living may be scenic, but it certainly isn’t very convenient. If you drive to work, like 76 percent of Americans do, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey, a reasonable commute is probably one of the first items on your new home wish list.
Living close to highways and public transportation means that you’ll have more time to spend in your new home, rather than on the road, train or bus. It’s also important to check out the distance to the services and amenities you’ll need, like grocery stores, medical offices, hair salons and malls.
Before you become too attached to a house, visit the community during rush hour and time how long it takes to drive from the lot you’re considering to a main road. If congestion is heavy in the community or on the roads leading to major New Jersey highways or public transportation, you may want to reconsider your choice.
Is the neighborhood a good fit?
You’ll need to do more than simply drive through a community to get a feel for the neighborhood. Visit during the evening or weekends when you’ll be more likely to run into your potential neighbors. Ask them if they like living in the neighborhood and what they think of local schools and services.
These conversations can help you decide if the neighborhood is the right one for you. If the neighbors seem standoffish, and you’re looking for new friends, the neighborhood might not be a good choice for you. However, if you’re looking for pleasant neighbors but value your privacy, the community might be perfect.
Do I like the look of the neighborhood?
During your stroll, take a close look at the homes that have been built so far in the neighborhood. Do they seem well-constructed? Are the lawns and flower beds neat and not overgrown? What about the streets and sidewalks? Are they in good repair? Does the community offer street lights? Do you feel safe walking through the neighborhood? Are community amenities, like parks, trails or pools, in good condition?
Pay attention to home and lot sizes too. Photographs on websites can be deceiving. A home that appears huge on the community’s website may not look quite as big in person. If you have particular lot requirements, such as a corner lot or one that faces east, make sure that the community still has an ample supply of preferred lots.
If the community is still being built, ask to see the site plan. Are streets laid out in a logical pattern? What are the setbacks between your property and the neighboring properties? How many cars can fit in the driveway?
What are the rules and regulations?
Many new home communities are governed by homeowners associations. If you’ll be paying an HOA fee, make sure you know what it will cover. Also, carefully read HOA documents to ensure you understand exactly what changes you can and can’t make to your property without permission. Although HOAs help all homeowners protect their investments, some can be a little too restrictive.
Are the schools highly rated?
You’ll probably want to learn as much as you can about the local school district if you have children. Research class sizes, graduation rates, number of AP courses offered at the high school and sports and clubs. You can find detailed school district information by reviewing the New Jersey Department of Education’s New Jersey School Performance Report. Find out if buses are offered and if the district provides before or after school childcare programs. If possible, pay a visit to the schools to see if they would be a good fit for your children.
Checking out the neighborhood is an excellent way to make sure you don’t regret your home purchase. Country Classics at Hillsborough welcomes potential homeowners to its thriving community in Hillsborough Township. You’ll find generously sized four-bedroom, 2.5 bath executive homes complete with chef’s kitchens, large family rooms, master bedroom suites and plenty of options and upgrades at Country Classics. Contact us to find out how you can become a homeowner in the final phase.
U.S. Census Bureau: American Consumer Survey
Department of Education: New Jersey School Performance Report
HGTV: How to Choose a Neighborhood
New Home Source: How to Choose the Right Neighborhood
U.S. News and World Report Money: When House Hunting, How to Assess a Neighborhood