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Is This the Right Neighborhood and Community for You?

You have been searching for the perfect place to build your new home. You have decided on the general location: city, suburb, or rural area. You may have even narrowed your search to a specific community or desired neighborhood. Before you go any further in your search for the perfect location and building site, you should do a little extra research or homework to ensure you are selecting the right neighborhood or rural site for you and your family. Below is a checklist of factors to consider at this stage.

  • Time, mileage and approximate cost to get to work, homes of family and friends and other important places you visit frequently.
  • Time and mileage to local schools, churches, shopping areas and public facilities such as libraries and parks.
  • Distances from undesirable places such as county dumpsites, train tracks, airports and highways.
  • Overall Community Presentation - Are roadways and shopping areas neat and well maintained? Do any buildings appear to be run down? Are traffic signals and sidewalks in good working order? Are all the streetlights lit at night?
  • Zoning - Are zoning and building codes enforced? Is it evident which areas are zoned for residential and commercial development? Visit a local zoning official to find out specific information about the area you are considering.
  • Visit all of the schools your children will attend. Tour each building while school is in session to get a feel for how the schools function on a daily basis and the staff's view of the importance of children and education. What activities and programs does each school offer?
  • Inquire about the availability of services and utilities such as water, sewer, trash pick-up, recycling centers, police and fire departments and recreation areas.
  • Perhaps someone living with you seeks medical attention on a regular basis. How close are local hospitals and doctors' offices? Are there direct routes to these places? Would someone be able to arrive at your home quickly in the case of a medical emergency?
  • Think about the possibility of natural disasters. Is this area in a flood plain or seismic zone that will require additional costs for insurance and building elements to ensure your home meets local building codes?
  • Check into local taxes and find out what your annual payment will be. Are the annual taxes within your budget?

These are just a few of the criteria you should consider when selecting a neighborhood or community in which to live. Depending on your lifestyle, budget and personal preferences, you will think of other important criteria to consider. You can obtain information about a particular community by visiting the Chamber of Commerce, city clerk's office, reading local newspapers or newsletters, and by talking with area residents. Before you purchase a lot for your dream home, it is necessary that you educate yourself about your potential neighborhood.

For additional information, please read Selecting A Neighborhood.

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