Buying a home is a long-term, important investment, so take the time to discover what makes your targeted Gainesville area neighborhoods tick. There are a number of ways to check the pulse of a community. Talking to neighbors can give you a great snapshot of what it’s like to live there. Most folks are pretty friendly here in Gainesville. Here are five other ways to determine whether a neighborhood is the right fit for you.
1. Is it an up-and-coming area or still in transition?
You might start by researching local home values and foreclosure rates. Consider such factors as crime rate, development plans and proposed or new businesses coming to the area. You can even contact local officials, such as the county property appraiser or the Home Owner Association manager for better insights. Sometimes buying a home in a transitional area may prove to be a good investment, but you probably want to make sure you’ll feel good about your home in the interim, too.
2. Do the schools make the grade?
Even if you don’t have school-age children, you should be interested in how the schools in your potential neighborhood perform. Homes near high-ranking schools tend to maintain higher resale values. Start your research by visiting GreatSchools.org or using the SchoolFinder tool at education.com. Here is the link to our local school board: Alachua County Public Schools
3. What’s nearby?
Consider what’s important to you in your future neighborhood, and then explore the surrounding areas near your targeted home. Among things to keep in mind are proximity to stores, schools, parks, and green spaces. Aside from being practical, these amenities make it easy to mingle with neighbors, set up kids’ play dates or just play fetch with your doggie.
4. How far is it from work?
Try to determine how long it will take you to drive to work, school or area stores from your new home. You can also time a potential commute by doing a test drive during the time of day you’re most likely to go to and from work. Make note of the school zones that could affect your daily driving.
5. How safe is it?
A neighborhood watch, well-lit streets, walkways, security systems and little to no signs of vandalism are signs of a safe neighborhood. You can see a picture of the types of crimes that occur in the neighborhood by researching on city-data.com or the local police department’s website. Gainesville Police Department or Alachua County Sheriff
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