Considerations for Choosing the Best Suburban Neighborhood for Your Family

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Luke Martin
Luke Martin
I am Luke Martin, a writer who loves homes. My words are about creating comfy and nice living spaces. Let's explore ideas for decorating and making homes cozy together. Join me on this journey to make your house a special place to be.

Buying a home anywhere is a huge investment decision, but when it also means moving your family to the suburbs, finding out what’s best for each and every family member becomes crucial. The suburbs are great for putting down roots and raising a family. Normally, people who settle down in the suburbs expect to raise their children there. Living in the city often lasts only a few years, but a move to the suburbs is a long-term decision. Here are some things to consider when choosing the best suburb for your family.

Residents’ reviews

There is nothing like feedback from the residents of the suburb you are considering. Check out publications that publish neighborhood reviews. You can get an idea of the kind of neighbors you are likely to have. Check reviews to see if all streets of the suburb are good choices or there are specific neighborhoods to avoid.

Commuting time 

Check how long it will take you to drive from your home to the office. Will you be driving with or against the traffic? Are there alternative routes to get to your place of work? If you are able to visit the suburb personally, drive along these routes and take note of conditions. If you plan to drop off your kids at their schools, go through these routes as well. 

Public transportation

Are there buses and trains close to your planned home? You may be used to driving a car within the city but in the suburbs, you may also want to consider getting to work using public transport. Some suburbs have large parking spaces near the train station, allowing suburban residents to drive to the train station, park their cars for the day, and commute back and forth from work by train. A community like Mernda, for example, has a railway line to Melbourne’s CBD and has ample parking slots. If your home is walking distance from the train station, that is an even better arrangement as you will not need to use your car that often.

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School location

A good neighborhood is one that is located in a coveted public school zone. Homes located within school zones that are rated high in terms of quality will always be in demand. Even if your kids are already in high school, look also at elementary schools. Eventually, when you decide to move out and put your home up for sale, chances are you will get a good valuation for it as homes near good schools will always command a much higher price than other areas.

Health facilities

Having a hospital nearby as well as clinics and laboratories add value to the neighborhood. You can never tell when a medical emergency may happen. Knowing that it will only take a few minutes for you to get to a hospital is a big comfort. While you are at it, check as well for nearby veterinary clinics if you have pets.

Crime rate

For many, safety is at the top of their priority list. A neighborhood with a very low crime rate will sustain high property values for a long time. You can go back to the sites featuring neighborhood reviews to see what residents say about their neighborhood’s crime rate. Some streets may be safer than others within the same neighborhood. Most large urban areas have crime reports that are readily available to the public. If your area does not have them, a visit to the local police department can help. They maintain crime statistics for their area and can give you a fairly good amount of information. 

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Are you close to a grocery store? A shopping mall? Cafes and restaurants? If there are bars nearby, will the noise reach your home? These are important considerations that will eventually make your life in your new home convenient.

It is important for your family’s community life that the suburb’s amenities fit your lifestyle. Art galleries, public libraries, houses of worship, gyms, and other activity centers are important if they play a large part in your own family’s usual activities. You can check out local newspapers or websites to find out what is usually going on in the community.

Internet connectivity

This looks like an obvious given but in spite of technology advances, there are neighborhoods where internet connectivity is poor to spotty. If your work depends on being able to connect to the internet and if your kids absolutely need it for schoolwork and for their games, you have to be certain that your location has pretty strong and fast internet connections.

Parks and open, green spaces

A healthy neighborhood is one with good city planning that includes a lot of green spaces and open areas. You want to be able to bring your family on walks in parks and commune with nature. Check what views you get from your street. Are you near the water, like lakes or streams? The value of your property will increase depending also on what views it has and if it is close to nature. As some real estate agents say, you are not just buying a house; you are buying a neighborhood.

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Traffic around your home

If your street is near a major highway, you may want to observe the traffic at different times of the day, especially at night. Some people have mistakenly bought homes in good neighborhoods but the homes were located near busy highways on which huge trucks passed at night, transporting goods. Noise pollution should be an important consideration for your family’s peace of mind.

Area development plans

Future developments around the suburb can impact your lifestyle, taxes, as well as the long-term value of the property. What used to be a quiet neighborhood might eventually turn into a sprawling community with a lot of high-rise buildings and traffic. The local chamber of commerce or city hall may have such information. 

Personal walk-through

There is nothing like personally walking and driving down different streets of the suburb to get a feel of the community, safety, and its vibe. If many people are walking at different times of the day, you can be sure the neighborhood is pretty safe. Observe the condition of the houses.  How do residents react to you? Check if there are run down or abandoned houses or buildings that may be a safety concern. Observe the community demographics. Are the residents mostly young families, middle-aged, retired, or a good mix of all? In the end, what you want is a personal confirmation that you are bringing your family to the right place.

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Doing your homework thoroughly ensures that you will not only be choosing the best suburban neighborhood for your family; it also provides you with a home whose value will appreciate through the years.

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