How to choose the perfect neighborhood to live in.

Dated: January 29 2024

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In our latest video, Kim talks about one of our favorite Neighborhoods in the Hampton Roads Area, Historic Ghent.

How to choose the perfect neighborhood to live in.

I once chatted with a gentleman in his driveway after visiting his neighbor, who'd just sold his house with me and he said, "I would sell my house, but where would I go?" Certainly, this is a loaded statement.    He could have been talking about any number of things, from affordability to the availability of suitable homes to any number of things, but it's a good question that many of us wrestle with when we're thinking of making a move.  

Most of us don't move from somewhere unless we have somewhere in mind where life seems like it will be better for us.  It's pretty simple, we humans usually move away from pain and toward pleasure. The more intense the present; pain, and the more vividly we can envision the better life we expect to have when we make a change, the more motivated we are to endure whatever discomfort making the change will cause. We're more motivated. 

I don't know what your specific pains may be, perhaps you're living in a home that is too large for your current stage of life, or perhaps you're living somewhere too far from the people that matter to you.  Perhaps, you're spending too much time at work or headed to and from work and not enough time doing what matters.  Whatever it is sometimes that pain alone isn't enough to cause us to decide to move. sometimes, we just endure it.  Maybe we complain, and sometimes we cry, but by and large, throughout our region, people are just staying put. 

I've heard of people putting additions on their homes, building Accessory Dwelling units on their properties, and converting their living room into a bedroom all because the prospect of enduring the change seems like it will be too difficult, and then you're asking,  as my client's neighbor did "then where would I go?"

In this blog post, we're skipping the pain and talking about the potential pleasure.  We're talking just a bit about how to upgrade your neighborhood.   How to decide where you want to go.

Imagine better: 

Take a quick inventory of the things that you're dissatisfied with and things you find yourself frustrated with.  Then try to imagine a world where these obstacles don't exist for you. Write it down. 

Next, let's move past fixing problems and move on to ways that you could be a better you.  Ways that you can be more of the type of person you see in your mind. We're not solving any problems yet.  We're just dreaming of a best-case scenario.  

What would that look like?  For some, it's a home on one level where they can grow a garden, for others it's a neighborhood where they can bike to work.  For still others, it is living somewhere that will be better for their children or where their parents can be nearby.  

Whatever it is, take some time to envision what your life would be like if you made the change.  Consider how it will affect you in vivid detail.  If it helps, write it down in descriptive language so that you can see it.  

Then, take some time to envision what your life will be like if you don't make the change.  Consider how it will affect you, your relationships, your health, whatever will be impacted.  Write that down too.  

Consider what matters: 

Now that you have a vision of the good life, now is the time to research to figure out where that can be found.  Since you've written it in detail, you can now rule out any place that is incompatible with your vision.  If you've envisioned a bungalow within walking distance of the ocean where you can take a daily morning swim.  That focuses your attention on specific areas where that's possible. 

Notice that having begun with the end in mind, we don't need to go through the boilerplate list of factors to consider when choosing a neighborhood.  Since you've imagined your new life in detail, you automatically know whether school districts matter to you more or if being near green spaces, recreational facilities, and healthcare services is more important to you.  

Count the cost:

When you find the areas where that vision could exist, now it's time to talk to the professionals.  Talk to a banker, financial advisor, or lender to get a grasp on the financials.  Then talk with an agent to weigh the pros and cons of selling or placing your home into property management when you find what you're looking for. 

This is where you'll know whether any obstacles need to be overcome to get where you want to go.  For example, you may find that the life you aspire to isn't possible in your area.  Or, perhaps as happens from time to time, there's no availability in the places where you'd like to be.  Some neighborhoods don't turn over very often. Whatever the obstacle, now is when you have to determine what it will take to get where you're going.  Does your Agent have to make calls to the neighborhood?  Do you guys have to drive through the area to look for homes for sale by owner?  What will it take to get you where you see yourself being?

Get help:

At this point, you should have a motivation building that will propel you forward. Even the excitement of it can be overwhelming if you don't get help from professionals friends and family.  Sometimes, just having someone who can ask you about your progress toward your goal can be helpful.  

Conclusion

The point of these steps is to help you to crystalize what you want. Often we're very aware of what things we're dissatisfied with but not clear enough on what we'd like to see that's better.  When we decide to do anything, we rarely move from a place where we experience pain to a place of uncertainty until the pain of staying is excruciating. 

Hopefully, this helps you in your thinking about how to design your life so that you can live well and love home.  If it does, send us a message.  We'd love to hear about it. 

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Lester Deane

Hey there, I'm Lester Deane, though everyone calls me Deane. I've been a Realtor in Hampton Roads for over 8 years, helping people design their lives using real estate – whether selling, buying, or....

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