As a first-time homebuyer, you’re probably getting a lot of input from friends and family on where to make the big move. Wouldn’t it be better to receive an unbiased analysis of all the locations on your wish list? That’s where we come in.
NeighborhoodScout takes the guesswork out of finding the right location for every stage in your life. At the first-home stage, you may have recently finished school, or are settling into a career. Maybe you’ve found that special someone and are ready to start your lives together. Whatever the reason, buying a first home is a daunting step. You need the right set of tools to successfully break into the real estate market and find the perfect neighborhood. What neighborhood you choose for your first home is key.
First-time homebuyers should pay attention to three crucial elements that indicate the overall quality of a neighborhood: educated neighbors, above-average rates of home appreciation, and affordability. This is an unbeatable combination to make sure you (and your lender) are making a good choice in a home likely to retain or increase its value, while providing you with a quality place to live.
It is the people who live in a community, more than any other single thing, that make the community what it is. People can build up a neighborhood, or bring about its downfall. They cumulatively establish the desirable or undesirable character that make other people want to move in or get out. They help determine if it is safe, has good schools, and is well-maintained. So how do you measure the quality of people in a neighborhood? Look for a high proportion of college-educated adults.
On the whole, people with college degrees will earn more in their lifetime than their non-matriculated peers. People with degrees have better-paying jobs and can afford to maintain their homes and their local infrastructure. They value education and play an active role in their children’s schools, not just for the benefit of their own brainiac children but because they know that good schools equate to better home values. Plus, a high proportion of college educated people choosing to live in a neighborhood means others with access to information made an informed choice. They chose to live here!
First-time homebuyers should also seek out locations with above-average home appreciation rates. Past performance is a good indicator of future performance, even if not a guarantee. Look for a history of steady and upward-moving home prices. This ensures a sound investment and identifies an opportunity to profit on a home’s future sale. Who doesn’t want a good return on investment? Said another way, who can afford to save up for a first home, only to see it fall in value?
Then add in affordability. You’ve got to be able to buy in or the other criteria simply don’t matter. We look for neighborhoods where the median home value is below the state average, yet also have a good record of home appreciation rates and lots of college educated neighbors. When you combine these three, what comes to the top are those very special neighborhoods that are outstanding choices for you to consider as a first time home buyer.
As you look for your first house, remember to think objectively and don’t shy away from the location’s statistics. These data are the DNA that make each neighborhood profile unique, and make it possible for NeighborhoodScout’s first-time homebuyer tool to find the best match for you – all within the price range, and the search area of your choice.