3 Reasons to Expand Your Home Search to Different Neighborhoods

by Maurie Backman | Published on Sept. 24, 2021

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Here's why it could pay to broaden your horizons.

If you're looking to buy a new home, you may have narrowed down your choices to one specific neighborhood. Perhaps you want to live near your family, or maybe there's a specific school district you're hoping to enroll your kids in.

It's understandable to get your heart set on a specific location to buy in. But here's why you may want to expand your search and look at different neighborhoods.

1. You might enjoy a wider range of home styles

The more neighborhoods you look at, the more styles of home you may be exposed to. And that could lead to you finding a more suitable place to purchase.

Say you decide to hone in on a specific neighborhood where the majority of the homes are ranches and colonials. If you broaden your search to other neighborhoods, you may find more custom homes, or other styles, like split-levels. And those layouts may work better for you and your family.

2. You could end up paying less for a home

If the neighborhood you're set on is popular, its home prices may reflect that. And that's reason enough to look at different neighborhoods.

You never know when moving just a few miles in one direction or another could result in you paying a lot less for a home. And that doesn't just mean having to make less of a down payment. It also means having a less expensive mortgage to pay off over what could be many years.

Looking at other neighborhoods might also help you realize whether you're at risk of paying too much for a house. Say a 2,000-square-foot, four-bedroom home in your target neighborhood has an average listing price of $450,000, but in three nearby neighborhoods, you can get the same type of house for $400,000. Seeing those price differences could help you reach the conclusion that it's not worth paying $50,000 more just to be in a specific zip code when you can snag an equally nice house just a few miles away.

3. You might come across amenities you never knew you wanted

Different neighborhoods have different types of charm. The neighborhood that tops your list may have great schools and nice parks, but another neighborhood could have more shops and cafes. Or maybe another neighborhood has a better appearance, with small gardens or flower beds interspersed throughout.

Plus, some neighborhoods may be a better fit from a demographic standpoint. If you're a couple in your 20s or 30s with two young kids, for example, you may find more families in a similar boat in a neighborhood with more starter homes.

Sometimes you don't know what amenities are important to you until you see them on display. So exploring different neighborhoods could open your eyes to more possibilities.

There's nothing wrong with honing in on a specific neighborhood to buy a home. But it could work to your advantage to look at multiple neighborhoods before making your decision. You may end up finding that a neighborhood that initially didn't hit your radar is actually the perfect place to call home.

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