When you first decide you want to look for a home the first thing your friends, your REALTOR®, and Zillow ask is “what area do you want to live?” This may seem like a fairly simple question but in reality it can be pretty complex and can change after you start your search. If you live in Richmond, or an area like Richmond, simply saying you’re looking for homes in RVA does not narrow the area down much. Really, even saying you want to live “in the city” doesn’t narrow it down but so much. There are usually follow up questions – downtown or uptown? North Side or Near West End, that you’ll have to consider.
Most buyers that I work with have a general idea of where they want to be and as we start looking they start to zero in on neighborhoods and streets that they really want to be in or near. If they are starting out and have absolutely no idea what area of town they want to live I ask a few telling questions to help my buyers narrow it down.
Where Do You Work
Where do you work and what do you want your commute to look like? The answer to this question is the difference between a quick stroll down the block and a 20 minute car ride to and fro.
Where Do Your Friends Live
Do you want to be near your friends or are you okay driving to hangout with them. In Richmond living “south of the river” is a big deal. When my husband and I started looking for a home some of our friends lived in the city in apartments but our homeowner friends had moved over to the South Side. We knew as our friends transitioned from renters to owners they’d likely make the jump too so when we were ready to buy we bought south of the river. We weren’t interested in driving over the bridges or through tolls to grab dinner with our friends. Where your friends live can influence where you want to live.
What Is On Your Must Have List
Your “must haves” not only narrow down the houses you look at but can narrow down the areas of town you’re considering too. If walkability is a big one then you don’t really want to move to the suburbs. If you have to have off street parking, a driveway, and ideally a garage to call your own then downtown probably isn’t your best bet.
Do You Have Pets or Kids
Being able to walk your dog at night or have your kids attend a certain school is a big driver of the area you determine to search for your home.
How Long Do You Plan to Live Here
The length of time you plan to live in your home may not be the first thing you think of when you are trying to determine your search area but it can actually play a big part. For example, if you wanted to live in an area where you can walk to restaurants but you only plan to live in the home for 5 years I would not suggest you look somewhere that is currently transitioning, like North Side. I’d suggest you look somewhere in the Museum District, Malvern Garden, or possibly Church Hill areas. Looking in areas that are slightly more established within the city (any city) gives you more stability and your home is more likely to hold it’s value or appreciate. Areas of transition, like Richmond’s North Side, that have some beautifully renovated homes but the area as a whole has not been fully developed may not show the same return in 5 years that it would in 10.
If you need more help determining your search area send me an email! I’m happy to help you figure out where you really want to be!