6 Secrets For First-Time Buyers On Finding The Perfect Neighborhood

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 04 June 2014 15:56

You've finally made the decision the start house hunting and enter the big bad world of real estate as a first-time buyer but the big question is – where to buy? When deciding where to buy your first home there are lots of things to take into consideration. Each person and family will have different priorities be it proximity to work, family, affordability or your favorite city. However when it gets down to a choice between one neighborhood or another, how do you choose? What should you be looking for?

Here are 6 secrets to finding the best neighborhood for your first real estate investment.


1. Narrow down what you want.

Make a list of everything you want in a new home. Include things like a short commute to work, nightlife, public transportation, parks, etc.

Tip: Schools are an important factor to consider. If you have little ones now you want to make sure your new home has good educational opportunities for them after your move. If you don’t have kids but plan to start a family soon you will want good elementary schools one day in the not too distant future. And even if you don’t have kids nor plan to, homes near highly rated schools have higher resale value than homes near under performing schools.

Once you’ve made your list, pin point your #1 priority and that will help narrow down your possible areas.  You most likely won’t be able to fulfill everything on your wishlist but organizing your thoughts is important to the process. Most people feel that a reasonable commute to work is most important.


2. Look for hipsters.

Let me explain. Hipsters have style and are into things before they’re cool. They can be found in downtown areas but not always the most popular spots. However once the hipsters move in and have taken root, it will become a popular and thriving place to be. Hipsters love art plus they’re highly attuned to aesthetics and keeping appearances beautiful and modern. Their attention to detail and nose for what’s next make hipsters a great indicator of a neighborhood that on it’s up way up.

Two areas with a growing hipster population in Orange County include Santa Ana and Costa Mesa. Santa Ana’s downtown is growing and changing, welcoming tons of new gastropubs, trendy restaurants and quirky spots to grab a drink or bite.

Costa Mesa likewise has two hipster hubs: The LAB Antimall and The CAMP. The LAB has a recycled design with indoor and outdoor hang out areas surrounded by specialty shops and eateries. The CAMP located just across the street has communal green gathering areas as well plus several healthy shops, restaurants and cool modern architecture.


3. Pick a neighborhood where you feel safe.

When choosing a neighborhood of course it's important to choose a place you feel safe. You can search for crime rates and statistics for a city as a whole but the best thing to do is look at crime and safety on a micro level - be neighborhood specific. Two great resource sites to use are HomeFacts and NeighborhoodScout for area specific data.

Numbers however don't tell the whole story. You should also look for things like neighborhood watches and associations when considering the safety of an area. And the best test for safety is visiting the area yourself  to see whether or not people are walking around, jogging and taking their dogs out for a walk. When people feel safe they are out and about. Try visiting a prospective neighborhood at night too in order to get a good idea of what it will be like if you move in.


4. Look for home improvements in the neighborhood.

This is your first home which means you probably will stay here for a few years and then move up to a bigger or better home. If people are putting money into their homes updating or renovating then you know it’s a good community to make an investment into. That means the neighborhood is improving and you'll fit right in with the other homeowners.

When the value of your neighbor’s home improves, so does yours which means your investment value rises. Looking for home improvements coincides a bit with looking for hipsters because the two sometimes, but not always, go hand in hand.


5. Consider move-up potential.

This is just your first home, you won’t be in it forever. However you can choose an area that you plan to be in for quite some time, that’s why it’s beneficial to find a neighborhood that has nearby move-up potential.

For example, if you love Villa Park and want to move there one day then consider Orange real estate in the area like  North Tustin or on the outskirts of Old Towne Orange. If you’re interested in Irvine real estate but can’t afford a million dollar home in Turtle Ridge then look into condos for sale in Irvine in the community of Orangewood.


6. Get an expert opinion.

Ask an agent who is familiar with the area you’re interested in – they can give you great ideas about good places to start looking. Experienced real estate agents have been through the hunt many times and they know which areas are good for first-time buyers.

For example First Team agent Nichole Doughty specializes in the upscale historical neighborhoods of Santa Ana and lives there with her husband and two kids. Before she moved to this upscale neighborhood however she and her husband bought their first home in Washington Square, just a few blocks away from Floral Park and West Floral Park but more affordable. Finding a local expert like Nichole is the best way to help you land the perfect first-time buyer neighborhood.

It can be difficult to know where to start as a first-time home buyer. If you have any questions about where you should be looking, what  to do first and what to look for in your first home then reach out to the experts for help. Call 888-870-1142 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll connect you with a top agent to help you through the home buying process.

Originally posted at: http://www.firstteam.com/blog/?p=8443


Buyers - What is your biggest concern when choosing a neighborhood or area for your first home purchase?

Agents - What tips do you have for first-time buyers who are searching for that perfect neighborhood?


Rate this item
(0 votes)

First Team Real Estate® is the largest independent brokerage in Southern California and voted the #1 Real Estate Company by the OC Register's Best of Orange County in 2011, 2012, and 2013


Agent Resource

Limited time offer - 50% off - click here

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.