Peanut butter and jelly. Ying and yang. Your home and community.
They just go together — or they should, at least. Choosing the right community to call home is as important as your ideal floor plan. That’s because community comprises so much: your location, amenities such as pools and walking trails, and even your neighbors and friends. But how do you identify the community that has everything you think you want today and everything you’ll know you need tomorrow?
Not to worry, because we’ve put our best heads together to share some tips and advice to help you find a community you’ll be happy to call home.
Start with what you know
So, what are your must-have qualities for your next community? Are you a young family looking for friends for you and your kids? Do you need to be in the hustle and bustle, far away from the crowds, or somewhere in the middle? By creating a list of “gotta have” and “nice to have” qualities, you’ve come out of the gates strong on your way to finding your best community.
Plot your future
Location is everything. It drives the people we know, the schools our children attend, and how much time we have to do what we love vs. driving back and forth all day long. Take the time to figure out if you’ll be eating out, what a “manageable” work commute is, and what else you need to be happy beyond the bubble of your homesite. Maybe it’s as simple as being right around the corner from your gym or favorite coffee spot. It only needs to make sense to you — and the others you share a roof with.
Size up your current community
Why are you moving? Does it have something to do with nosy neighbors and a lack of privacy? Or do you wish your neighbors would come together for social engagements more often? Is a career move uprooting you from what’s already your ideal community, leaving you to compare each new potential community against your current one? Also, if you have a real nice community pool you never use, but think you need one in your next community, maybe think again. Remember, we’re creatures of habit.
Chat up the residents
We’re not suggesting you go knocking on doors after dusk with a list of 20 questions to ask a community’s homeowners. But do take a stroll down the street, pop in the clubhouse, or swing by the neighborhood café. You might be surprised at just how willing strangers will be to answer your questions. And it might be the first of many pleasant conversations you have with your future neighbors.
Hit the road
OK, you’ve done your homework and background research. Now it’s time to get in the weeds of the few communities that check all your boxes. Take advantage of any formal tours or open houses that are available in addition to visiting the community amenities and walking the block on your own. Also, be sure to visit a community more than once, ideally on different days and at different times.
The more we think about it, maybe we shouldn’t separate home and community. Because they are inseparable. And even more so, because you ultimately want a community that feels like home. So good luck, and when the time is right, welcome home to your new community!