When you’re looking to buy a house, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the financial aspects. But what’s really important as you search for a house?

Finding the perfect neighborhood.

As you are house hunting, you’ll want to be sure to think about these six things to find the perfect neighborhood.

Don't buy a house in the wrong neighborhood! Great tips to find the perfect neighborhood for the first-time home buyer.

Who lives there?

What type of people are in the neighborhood? Families with younger kids? Families with older kids? Retirees? Young singles or couples?

How does this fit with what you are looking for?

When I was a single mom, we lived in a condo with mostly retired people and young single people. There wasn’t other families nearby with kids for my daughter to play with.

I knew when we bought our current house that it was important to find a family-friendly neighborhood. I love that there’s a variety of neighbors and a great mix of age groups so all of my kids will have friends nearby.

How are homes cared for?

How does the neighborhood look as a whole? Don’t be afraid to talk a walk through the area and look closely at the other houses.

Does it seem like most of the lawns have been recently mowed? If you’re house-hunting in winter, do most of the homes have sidewalks and driveways clear of snow? Are the homes well-kept without any obvious signs of neglect?

Neighborhood Noises

Are there sounds that bother you? Barking dogs, kids playing, trains, or traffic? If this is important to you, be sure to stop by your potential neighborhood at varying times of day.

When we first moved to PA, our apartment was only a mile from the local gun club. Not a good fit for a combat veteran.

Strange Smells

As silly as it may seem, smells may be a factor in finding your perfect neighborhood! Are there factories nearby or anything that might cause strange smells?

When we were house-hunting, we knew we didn’t want to be within a few miles of the mushroom farms (rotting chicken smell) or the Amish farms (manure smell depending on the weather). Maybe we should have just looked in Hershey-who would mind their backyard smelling like chocolate?


If you have kids (or are planning to), is the school district important to you? (And are you willing to pay the taxes that may come along with that?)

For many parents, schools are an integral part of the home-buying decision.


While covenants (rules set by the neighborhood-often the Home Owners Association-HOA) can help protect the aesthetic of a neighborhood, not everyone cares for the strict rules. Also, HOAs usually have a monthly fee for community services-regardless if you use them.

Finding the Perfect Neighborhood

Buying a house is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. Make sure to think about what is important to you when you decide on a neighborhood. Check out your potential neighborhood by walking or driving through so you can get an idea of what to expect if you decide to buy a house there.