Before you ever make any decisions about your new home’s features and finishes, you’ll want to decide where you want your home to be located. But with literally hundreds of new home communities to choose from in the DC metro area, narrowing down your options can feel a little bit daunting.
Here are five essential tips for making that important first step in the process easier for you and your family.
Start with Commute Time
One of the simplest and, perhaps, most important ways to start your search is to think about where you work and how long it takes to get there. Start with the longest commute time you’d accept and use Google Maps or Bing Maps to estimate how close you’d have to live to make that happen. We integrate Google Maps into each of the community pages on NewHomesGuide.com, so you can see how far you are from work as you search.
This is also a good time to think about whether or not using mass transit is a possibility. Communities located near rail stations or bus stops make it easy to get to and from employment centers throughout the region, and you might even be able to save money on your daily commute, too.
Think About Your Must-Haves
Your new home search shouldn’t begin and end with what floorplan features you want to have in your house. Instead, think about the local or in-community amenities that matter most to you and your family.
If you know that you can’t live without having shopping and dining more than a couple minutes away, you’ll likely want to avoid communities that trade convenience for extra space or natural elements. Or if you love to exercise outside, you’ll probably want to pick a neighborhood that has a park within reach.
These are just a couple of examples, but they illustrate how important it is to think about the places that really matter to you before you get caught up in which home designs you want.
Explore Schools Ahead of Time
If you have kids or are planning to have them in the future, knowing the quality of nearby schools will be an especially important element of your new home search.
Use tools such as GreatSchools.org or SchoolDigger.com to explore school ratings before you ever set out to tour a community. If an area doesn’t offer the educational opportunities you want for your family, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.
Determine if Walkability Matters to You
To some, being able to ditch the car or truck in favor of walking or biking is a dream come true. For others, it’s not quite as important.
If a high level of walkability (or bikeability) is an important aspect of your future community, check out resources such as WalkScore.com to determine how many amenities are within walking distance.
Take Taxes into Consideration
Once you have a better idea of what you want out of your home’s location, you should start thinking about your finances. Spend some time researching an area’s property taxes to get a better understanding of what you’ll actually be paying every month in addition to your mortgage and HOA fees.
Fortunately, New Homes Guide makes it easy for you to find the perfect community in Maryland, Virginia, DC or Delaware. Start your search now, and don’t forget to take advantage of our Advanced Search features to find the community that meets all your wants and needs.