Location, Location, Location: Things to Beware of When Moving to a New Neighborhood

Location, Location, Location: Things to Beware of When Moving to a New Neighborhood

Claire Bock
Jul 16, 2014
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Shutterstock)

There are exterior elements in a neighborhood that can easily be overlooked when you fall in love with a beautiful apartment. But even if the apartment that you live in is perfect, you also have to live in the neighborhood itself.

When an apartment price seems too good to be true, take a second look at the street and neighborhood and make sure that you can live with these warning signs.

As I was searching for apartments recently in London, I found several “perfect” apartments. That is, I thought they were perfect until I showed my practical husband, who pointed out that the bar across the street wasn’t going to be so much fun on a Thursday night at 3AM. Here are more warning signs to keep in mind when searching for an apartment in a new neighborhood.

Surrounding Apartments: Scope out the surrounding apartments and neighbors. Do the neighboring apartments look well kept? Are the neighbors around often or never at home? Depending on your lifestyle, you may prefer one or the other. Certainly if a neighboring apartment looks unkempt, you may worry about any infestations of pests that might travel into your dwelling as well.

Shared Communal Spaces: Are there communal spaces you would be sharing? In London, gardens are often shared among tenants, and it might be a good idea to meet the neighbors with whom you will be sharing precious outdoor space in a cramped city.

Neighboring Businesses: In a crowded city like New York or San Francisco, apartments are often found on top of restaurants, bars, and retail stores. Make sure that what you are looking to live above suits your lifestyle. Being near a pub or liquor store might sound like a fun idea, but in reality, it may be messy and loud. If you don’t want to wake up to screaming in the middle of the night and vomit on your doorstep the next morning, this probably isn’t the location for you.

Local Transport and Parking: Living next to a freeway in LA or on top of a prime bus line can have its perks, but this can also add to the noise and pollution that you experience inside and outside of your place. I have heard that if you live near a freeway in LA it is only quiet when there is bumper to bumper traffic. Also, you tend to underestimate your potential commute, but it is best to do a trial run if you can. What is the parking like, and will this have an impact on visitors to your home?

Local Parks: Now that I have a dog, I notice that the parks are a great way to learn about a neighborhood. Are drug deals happening or are families enjoying picnics on the weekends? Are the parks clean or are there empty whippet cartridges and beer cans hanging around?

What environmental factors do you wish you had spotted before moving?

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