When preparing to move, many people focus on the details of the home itself — the square footage, the backyard, the number of bathrooms… but have you thought about your new neighborhood? The amenities and features available in a community can really affect homeowner happiness, so it’s important to do some research before you make an offer. And if you’re wondering where to begin, these guidelines can help you decide what’s important in a new community.
One of the first things many people ask about an area is, “How are the schools?” If you’re child-free or your children are grown, this is still an important factor to consider, as a school district’s quality can affect local real estate values. Before you move, research the district’s class size, test scores, and graduation rates. If you have time, speaking with parents who have children enrolled in the district can give you a true sense of its quality. Chisholm Creek Farms in the Edmond School District and Princeton Parke in the Deer Creek School District – both highly desirable school districts – frequently receive the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence designation.
Your perception of your own personal safety will play a big part in your happiness with a new community. In addition to researching crime rates, check in with yourself when you visit a neighborhood to make sure you feel comfortable walking around and being outside. If you can, vary the day and time of your visits, as the vibe might be different at night or on the weekends. If you’re looking for a safe, vibrant community, consider the Chisholm Creek Farms and Princeton Parke communities — both are located in Edmond, OK, which topped CNBC’s Top 10 Perfect Suburbs list.
Everything within the four walls of your new home is important, but don’t overlook the surrounding environment, too. Does the area have parks and green space? If you value outdoor exercise, will it be easy to take a stroll around the block or take the kids for a bike ride? As you research potential communities, take a look at the satellite view of Google Maps to get an overview of the area’s green space.
Yukon, OK, home to the Sara Vista community boasts a dozen city parks within 2 miles as well as Lake Overholser just 2 minutes away. The South Fork at Surrey Hills community is another great option if you want to get outside. This hamlet boasts streets, courts, and cul de sacs that are free of external traffic — perfect if you have young children!
Located in Edmond, OK, Twin Silos is one of the newest up and coming communities with a clubhouse, fitness center, playground, swimming pool, basketball court, pond, and walking trails.
Is your new neighborhood near major highways and roads? If it’s important to you to minimize your driving time, use Google Maps to research how long will it take to drive to frequent destinations like your workplace, the kids’ piano lessons, or the homes of friends and family.
The Sara Vista and South Fork at Surrey Hills communities in Yukon, OK are close to the Kilpatrick Turnpike and I-40, making it very easy to travel all over the greater Oklahoma City metro area. Downtown is a mere 15 minutes away!
Think about your daily routine. Which stores do you visit often? Your favorite coffee shop for a morning latte? The grocery store for last-minute dinner ingredients? Look into which restaurants, pharmacies, hardware stores, and other retail options your new community offers. If you can’t live without take-out or you love to window shop for clothes, keep that in mind when you’re house hunting. The Chisholm Creek Farms community has it all: three pharmacies, two grocery stores, and more than 10 restaurants are all within 1 mile!
Perhaps less visible, but equally important, is a community’s access to vital services such as hospitals, fire departments, and police departments. If you have any special health conditions, be sure to research nearby doctors and medical facilities when evaluating a community.
If you’ve always lived in cities, the ability to get high-speed internet may seem like a given, but in many rural areas and some suburbs, it’s not available (or reliable). If you love to stream movies or you work from home, ask questions about each prospective community’s access to this utility.
As you consider a move, you may find that things cost a little more or less than you’re used to. A community with a low cost of living will help your paycheck stretch a little farther. For example in Yukon, OK (home to the Sara Vista and South Fork at Surrey Hills communities) has a cost of living that’s 1.20% lower than the U.S. average.
If you’re looking to move and wondering what kind of salary you’ll need to maintain your current lifestyle, this online calculator can help.
When it comes to finding a new place to live, the process isn’t one size fits all. What is a non-starter to you might not be a big deal for someone else. The best approach is to figure out your priorities (for example, good schools and a low cost of living) and try to find the community that can check the most boxes.
And if you’re looking in the Oklahoma City area, check out this complete overview of the family-friendly communities where TimberCraft invests in building new homes.