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What do you look for in a neighborhood?

Emily H
December 31, 2017

When you are looking for a new home, what do you look for in a new neighborhood for you and your family? Do you have any must-haves? Let's hear it!

Share your experience!

Comments (71)

  • chloebud

    Location, quiet, safe and pretty. We got it all with our current neighborhood that's really the nicest one in our town IMO. It's known for its gorgeous old oaks, and they truly are just that.

  • oliviag55
    gailreske, in really sorry you feel that way about my beloved Florida.
    I hope you can move away, and leave a parking place for me at Publix.
    just kidding.
    you will get used to the winter influx. truly. leave earlier for work. most of the snowbirds sleep in. you'll figure out the rhythms if you stay. and, I hope you do. Florida is awesome. most of the year.
  • Annette Vusich
    In the woods, close to the lake, unable to see any other houses. Privacy is paramount!
  • gailreske

    Been in Florida 26 years, work on an island over look the gulf of Mexico, does sound exotic! LOL but we're 10 ft above sea level. Great in winter, not so much in the summer!

  • D C

    No, Florida was never one of my faves. Had family there as a kid and I wasn't thrilled with it then. It was just ok. Too much humidity and overcrowding. Was in Naples last year for a winter break with friends. Their son lives there and is head chef for one of the beach hotels; it was nice but even he said after March the weather is unbearable. I'm thinking Central California. My husband was born in San Fran and that entire area all the way down to Big Sur is my idea of a beautiful place to live with mild sunny weather. If you can avoid the earthquakes and fires! And I had thought of Tn, too, but tornado and ice storms are enough to put me off.

  • Joanne

    I recently moved just a mile and a half across town and the new neighborhood is night and day different (in a good way) from my old neighborhood. My primary reason for moving was to be in a more friendly neighborhood where people actually talk to their neighbors and weekends find many residents outside in their front yards. The move was costly, since the only house available in this new neighborhood had been abused by a former owner, but the expense is worth it to me. A bonus is that the new neighborhood is very walkable and closer to the town center. Many residents walk rather than drive which increases the face to face contact with neighbors. I have so many more friends now (after living in the new area for less than one year) than I did living in the previous neighborhood for almost twenty years! Also, being an older neighborhood, (started in the 1950's) there are many mature trees which is important to me. My previous part of town was newer and few homeowners planted trees (I guess because it involves manual labor), thus the area lacks visual depth and the privacy that mature trees provide.

  • Stillshane

    Walkability. Convenient options for transit or possibly biking. Nearby residences that are attractive or being renovated. Good school district. Some greenery, esp. trees. Friendly people. Not in a hazardous area (e.g., where mudslides could harm my home).

  • Villa Lembang

    Which should definitely have a wide yard for children's playground, close to school, have a good environment, away from pollution, close to shops and restaurants.

  • lajsimmons54

    I look for a good, safe, family oriented neighborhood that's quiet. I nice backyard for the kids to play. Space for me to do my projects. My kids are "choice out" for school so the school district doesn't matter so much to me. Close to shopping and a farmers market. Parks. Not so far away from the schools and work that we're always in traffic but not near my current job or their schools..no yard space and busy streets. I've grown accustomed to a little wild life. I like seeing the family of rabbits running around in the warmer weather.

  • cindy223

    Well, I am lucky enough to live on Sanibel Island in Florida. My home is around the corner from the beach and bike trails. Restaurants and stores are close by, so I can hop on my bicycle to shop. It is safe, loaded with wildlife and absolutely beautiful. I look for lifestyle, good weather, safety, great neighbors, low state income taxes and a beach. Loads of fun-filled activities to keep me fit and healthy. Wonderful in the winter, not so much in the summer. Life stages have a lot to do with what people are looking for in a neighborhood.

  • spayne88

    We haven't found our ideal neighborhood, and our previous experience was mostly negative. Our last house was in an expensive subdivision with a very active HOA. The neighbors called the police on us our first day - our moving truck protruded slightly into the street (on the side with no parking allowed), so when the police responded they made us move the truck across the street. We unfortunately lived on a through-street, so we had to carry heavy furniture across and uphill, dodging heavier than expected traffic. In addition, we received nasty HOA letters threatening litigation because our neighbors could see the "eyesore" woodpile under our back deck - only our next door neighbors, mind you, since it wasn't visible from the street. There were a lot of children in the neighborhood, too. We loved that when we moved in, but the abundance of spoiled teenagers meant that every year our Christmas decorations were destroyed (along with everyone else's on our street), our mailbox was vandalized, and summer nights were filled with ringing doorbells that woke up our baby. Not to mention the construction mess when the subdivision decided to develop half the front 9 golf course (destroying property values of the people who lived off those holes - thank goodness we did not!), the crazy soccer moms who drove 50 mph through residential streets, determined to run over (someone else's) children, and the pothole-filled streets, because our subdivision was too exclusive to be part of the city. Private and gated = no city funding to repair roads. Where did my $900 annual HOA fee go? I'm fairly certain it went to the golf course, not the quality of the roads.

    At least we know what we're looking for now: walking distance to the library, parks, shopping and restaurants. Quiet, city streets, and NO subdivisions!

  • gailreske

    I can appreciate how difficult it must have been. My heart goes out to you ! The home we now own was found after a very long search. It was worth the wait. We knew what we wanted, and just kept looking; I guess the old saying, "location, location, location" is a pretty valid piece of advice for us to keep in mind.

  • artsyphartsy_home_maker


  • gailreske

    I love my house & neighborhood, just want them in another state LOL!

  • spayne88

    We liked our house, which was large and comfortable. And we backed to trees, and in summer mornings my dog would run the length of the fence, playing with deer on the other side. We would sit on the deck and watch while we drank our coffee, and it's a very pleasant memory. I had never lived in a subdivision before, having grown up in the downtown area of a small city, and I definitely had a romanticized idea of fancy neighborhoods with large houses, community pools and golf courses.

    Then I learned that the people who live in those sorts of neighborhoods aren't very nice (this was my personal experience - sorry for generalizing if you live in a fancy subdivision!). From being tailgated and having a soda bottle thrown at my car because I drove the speed limit on a subdivision street, to the neighbors across the street from us hanging a confederate flag on their wraparound porch when an Indian family moved in next door... I just really didn't like it.

  • gailreske

    To think even one "crazy" neighbor could change things for so many others is unsettling. So much to take into consideration.

  • artsyphartsy_home_maker

    @gailreske indeed all it takes ONE 'crazy' neighbor and it can make your life living HELL. Ours are the epitome of disrespectful neighbors. Our backyard neighbors have a pool that is very close to our backyard. They would allow their teenage son to regularly have huge pool parties all night long until daylight in the morning. There would be about 30 teenagers jumping in the pool screaming yelling with loud music all night long while we would be trying to sleep with our windows open facing the backyard.

    This even happened on the night of our wedding when we slept in our house for the first time. I spent my wedding night angrily staring out of the window muttering curses, and I rarely curse. As most people know, your wedding day is absolutely exhausting & stressful & we really needed our sleep and to decompress from the day, and especially because we had to drive 7 hours to our honeymoon destination the very next day early in the morning. We should have called the cops, but didn't call that time because we thought maybe it would be a one time party. The next time they had a party {the night we got back from our honeymoon} we did call police, but it didn't stop them from having parties it only got them to turn the music down for a little while and then it was back up again and the cops let it happen. About 5 years later the son finally moved out THANK GOD!! .... I'm aiming for our retirement house some day to have everal acres of land around it with no neighbors visible or within 'hearing' range Grrrrrrrrrrrr !!!!!!

  • Glypha

    I love diversity in a neighborhood. I would just ask preferably not to be too loud with their music, nor habits of propping up their homes whilst smoking outside. Keeps their front yard clutter free and controls any pets they have and ones who do not insist on mowing the lawn every waking day. Most importantly respects my privacy...I don't fancy gossip and I'm especially tired of nosey neighbors who try to include me in the gossip. Nothing worse than being out shopping with the kids and have someone randomly walk up to me "So have you heard about Patty?"...I can only stand there with a "...?" expression for so long before the annoyed look sets in.

  • mandydholzer

    Peaceful. Respectable and quiet neighbors who will have your back when you're gone. No drama.

  • Kendrah

    Economic and racial diversity. Access to good public transit. Walkable to groceries, pharmacy, post office, and a great hardware store. Friendly neighbors who don't smoke.

  • miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)


    Give me land lots of land under starry skies above...

  • writerinfact

    Being a country girl who has been stuck in Northern New Jersey since 1969, my goal is to live where "rush hour" means 3 John Deeres and a quarter horse - and the horse is mine! Other than that, my youngest just turned 34, so schools aren't on my radar; I'm scared of militarized police; the only time I ever dealt with the fire department was when my late husband needed an ambulance; and nothing that ever came from City Hall was to my benefit, so I'm pretty much in favor of doing what must be done for myself. Or, of course, hiring a competent professional, as required.

  • Judy Main

    My husband and I live in Florida and we like our neighborhood and have wonderful neighbors. We vacation in the summer and guess what ? Our friends and family up North are covered with snow and snow shovels in the winter. We used to be one of them. We own one house and enjoy it very much. Family and grand children are here also and that is the icing on the cake. Air conditioning in the summer and low utility bills in the winter.

  • artsyphartsy_home_maker

    a Hot climate is definitely not for me. Give me lots of SNOW! Am loving the extra cold start to spring we are having here in the North East right now. I say no to sticky, shiny, sweaty, smelly, hot, dizzy, queasy, humid & gross! Give me fire in fireplaces, scented candles {cinnamon or pine}, snowflakes, crisp air, ski's, Pine trees, bon fires, warm drinks, Thanksgiving & Christmas time, cozy blankets & snugly sweaters & parkas!!! And all this wonderment taking place in the beautiful Mountains of North Eastern USA!!!!!

  • Geneviève

    The look of a street clean , no trash cans or recycling bins on front porches, the grooming of lawns and smiley neighbours who take the time to say hello when they are outside all of these things give a welcoming feeling .

  • OldGrayMare
    Raised in Hawaii...all over the world as an adult, now retired in Florida in a 55+ condo, walking distance (3 blocks) to middle of quaint village with fun shops and fab restaurants. The restaurants part is the only downside...too easy to say, “aw heck, why cook tonight...let’s just mosey downtown to XYZ” LOL. Great little city....lots of festivals and music and beautiful parks.
    Why Florida instead of Hawaii? All of our kids and grands are on the east coast (with one military exception)...otherwise I’d be back in paradise, believe me! Love the winters, hate the summers ...but I just stick straws up my nose and submerge in the pool like a hippopotamus. Life is what you make of it!
  • B L

    Absolute minimum lot size of 1/2 acre, with 1-2 acres preferable. Would never purchase a home where I could stand in the middle between my house and my neighbors, and touch both at the same time (like in photo above). Neighborhood must be quiet with homeowners taking pride in their property and maintain it, mature trees between lots a plus. Preferably a smallish town with not much traffic, and must be in New England because I require four distinct seasons, although I would prefer summer to be shorter (hate the heat). Would never move to the south!

  • aroyalsavage

    Acreage. Location with acreage.Gated long driveway. 4000 sq ft + homes. Equine community. When you have pets, neighbors are not conducive to having pets. The more solitude the better. Combine those things and you know you're in an exclusive neighborhood. Waterfront is a bonus. If you shop correctly, there is no need to live near any stores nor any other thing. If you're concerned about living near a hospital, you must not have much faith in your health. Ultimately, 75+ acres, hidden behind lovely trees, native landscaping, 5000sqft +, 4 car garage and no neighbors in sight or earshot. The sort of place where you can BBQ naked if you'd like. It becomes a neighborhood of just one. 1...your own neighborhood.

  • pdjh
    I have been spoiled with an ocean view, so it’s hard to imagine moving anywhere that didn’t match the view I currently have-which is exactly why we are currently renovating and not moving! In addition to that, I need a little space. I like to see my neighbour’s homes, but not hear their conversations. I like being outside of the city, so it’s quiet and peaceful, but within a half hour drive of amenities. Good neighbours and good schools top it off!
  • Amber Webb

    We prefer the country, but move a lot and are currently living in the city. So, if in the country, then the area needs to be moving in the right direction, just like in the city. You can move out of the city to escape drugs and crime, but there are creeps in the country too. I look for an area where nice new homes are being built and rundown homes are being sold and torn down. This is a slower process in the country, but it is very important because if someone wants to buy the 5 acres beside you and haul an old trailer out to live in, raise roosters for who knows what and start working toward their dream of owning a scrap yard, you can't do much if anything about it. In the city, the same things apply. When we look at houses we are looking at what direction the neighborhood is going and how much the homeowners care. These things are very important from an investment standpoint, but feeling safe is #1. I will not live somewhere that I do not feel safe. Ever.

  • midcenturymodernlove

    Clean, neat, quiet, respectful neighbors. People using their garages, not parking up and down the street with multiple vehicles they can't fit into their garages. No dog barking nearby (personal thing). Well-cared for landscapes generally (unkempt ones might be elderly people who can't keep it up, so I look closely, but if it is an ever-rotating bunch of tenants in a rental house, I'm out)

    Quiet street, not heavily traveled. Residents of various ages, not all one demographic. You want a neighborhood where people age in place and love their homes. Personally, I prefer a house with the driveway placed on the opposite side from both adjacent neighbors, as then I don't have to hear either come and go, but that's just a bonus that you can't always get. Private backyard.

  • Gerri Brostrom

    NO barking dogs!

  • miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)

    I have to say, the barking dogs in my neighbourhood are invaluable for keeping away undesirables, both two- and four-legged. The key is that they only bark when it's appropriate, and the owner can shut them up at will.

  • barbarabuchanan

    Trees, trees, and more trees! Give me lots of trees.

  • Kate L

    Safe, attractive, well-maintained. Walkability is a huge plus. Respectful and thoughtful neighbors. Someone else mentioned garages that are actually used—yes to that!

  • Lynda
    Quiet neighborhood of well kept homes on 7-10 acres with an abundance of trees and nature where we can be in peace - and very close to all my family. This describes the property where we are currently building our dream home :-)
  • Nicholas Lane

    Any place where gun fire does not happen on a daily basis.

  • PRO
    Prescott Window and Door

    Moved from Michigan winters to the perfect climate 15 years ago. Wish it had been 30 years ago! So many different options to live in here! From deep in the woods, to high on a mountain, near a lake, in a golf community, or out in the middle of nowhere! I can't imagine anyone couldn't find their perfect fit. found it in a magazine article of Best 10 Places to Live, flew in for a visit, and moved in a heartbeat. Historical, charming downtown, friendly people, lots to see and do. We found OUR happy place!

  • imho22

    I'm already in the perfect location! An older "dog friendly" neighborhood, no HOA's or matching mailboxes, a quiet tree lined street with only local traffic, wonderful neighbors, a quick 5 minute drive to amenities like theaters, shopping, restaurants, etc. as well as a first rate hospital and 5 minutes drive or bike ride the other direction to a 3000 acre county park. Lots of room for on street parking for throwing big parties too :-)

  • phassink

    Re-sale. I always look for a house that I could to sell if I needed to move. The first house I ever bought, I took a $20,000 loss because the neighborhood was filled with starter homes like mine.

  • Martine

    For me, I need a nice neighbourhood that's full of considerate people with savoir vivre, and for my finances, I always select a house that will have good re-sale value

  • Joe T.

    • No new development subdivision
    • Walkability
    • Friendly neighborhood pub

  • queenvictorian

    We sought out old, established, and walkable neighborhoods in city proper. I very much wanted to stay in the neighborhood we'd rented in for years, but it was the type of place that was affordable to rent in but expensive to buy in, so we moved a mile and a quarter east, to the next neighborhood. We got what we wanted - the blocks around us were developed between 1890 and 1915 or so, laid out before cars were a serious consideration. There are small commercial districts nestled throughout, so you're always close to amenities or a cute cafe or something. It's nice to be in a dense city neighborhood but still have detached single family houses and yards and trees.

    It's also down to earth and friendly here - folks are proud of and also protective of the neighborhood - long-time neighbors were wary about us at first, but the instant they learned we were just here to live and restore the house (and not flippers or landlords/property investors), they became very welcoming.

    There's also no HOA - that was a total deal breaker for us. I'd rather live on a street full of dandelion lawns and cars on blocks than live under the jurisdiction of an HOA.

  • eirelav Bunni

    What do I look for in a neighborhood? Houses that are well cared for and pristine yards (front sides, and back) with wreathes on the doors and no toys in the walkways and street. (This means parents are teaching their children manners and values). I like houses with open curtains, raised shades and/or blinds (this suggests that the neighborhood is safe and secure). I try to see the out door waste containers. Are these people who re-cycle because they care about the environment? Are there gardens and bird feeders? I do an online demographics search for the right amount of diversity and home ownership vs. renters. (With a strong home ownership tax base will assure strong community services are received and jury duty notices are exercised fairly). Then, I look for good schools, active churches, size-up the sheriff's department, library and post office. Before buying a house I look at the condition of the vehicles and watch the movements of the wild life for serenity (no jacked-up trucks, or Jeeps or diesel engines). I do not want to see speed bumps and signs that read, "Keep Off Grass", "When Your Dog Poops You Must Scoop" or "No Parking Zone". that means there are problems. Our house was built in 1918 and we live in a Historic District in Maryland. without a H.O.A.

  • Danielle Black
    Equally or more expensive homes, good schools

    No barking dogs , no teenage drivers , no kids screaming , no drunken parties at 2 am !

  • Crystal

    We have now been in our "3 year" home 16 years. We love our neighborhood, GREAT neighbors, driveway socials, outdoor movie nights, homemade pizza parties, rotating soup nights through the winters, annual bunco bash, etc, all spread out over 4 streets through the neighborhood. Best EVER.

    Only downside is the road that backs up to our home. What was once a leisurely 2 lane winding road, has now been revamped to accommodate 16 years of increased traffic and even that is not enough to entice us to move. We hit the jackpot with our "hood"! :)

  • SueBee

    We found exactly what we wanted when we retired to our little town. Quiet streets, friendly neighbors and we can walk to town, church and post office. We are very involved with our tiny town and have made lots of friends here.

  • nicole___

    I just moved, looking for the perfect home. We've been here 5 months. The home is well built. It doesn't sway in the wind or feel like the 42 glass windows will break any minute in the next gale. No cold air blowing through the electric outlets or windows. No tying down the patio furniture or it will crash into the great room windows when the wind blows. I can sit on a chaise without being bitten by a hundred flys(they preyed on the deer bedded down in the last yard). No neighbors climbing my fence to exit hiking trails behind my home, as there are none behind my house here. No marijuana pot shops at the bottom of my hill, on the main street that used to be restaurants, that sold to exit the changing genre.

    So far.....this looks pretty good. :0) I'm really not asking for that much....

  • ami_gar


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