If you’ve decided to move to or within Chicago, one of your first steps will be to find the right neighborhood. However, this can be a daunting task, even if you’ve lived here your entire life. The good news is that once you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll have a much easier time finding the neighborhood of your dreams.

1. Know What You Want

Do you know what your dream neighborhood looks like? If so, it’s a good idea to start a running list. What elements does your ideal neighborhood have, and how important are Top Tips for Finding Your Dream Chicago Neighborhoodthey to you?

If you are already a parent, then items like quality education will definitely come into play. This is no problem in Chicago, which boasts several top elementary and high schools, and no fewer than seven city colleges.

However, if you are going to be living alone or will be retiring with your spouse, elements like entertainment and museums may be of more value to you. You’ll find plenty of both in several Chicago neighborhoods.

2. Know What You Don’t Want

Just as important as considering what you do want in a neighborhood is to think about what you don’t want. It’s a good idea to keep these elements on a separate list from your desired items. Think about your current neighborhood and what you wish was different about it to come up with items for this list.

Rank the elements on each of the above lists from absolutely essential to those you can live without. This will give you a clear picture of what you truly want in a neighborhood.

3. Go Sightseeing

There’s nothing like a road trip to your desired neighborhood to help you decide if it’s as ideal a spot as you’d hoped. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or have been there before, you’ll want to look at features like the condition of houses and streets and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are yards being maintained?
  • Does it make you feel good to see houses with curb appeal?
  • Do the shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities in the area seem exciting?

If you’ve already called a mortgage company for home prices in the neighborhood, you’ll also want to check if they’re an accurate reflection of what you’re seeing in person.

Chances are good that if you are excited by the possibilities, the neighborhood you’re visiting could be the perfect one for you, as well as for future buyers when you’re ready to sell.

4. Listen and Learn

The sound levels in your desired neighborhood may not seem so important when you’re  just checking things out, but they may have a big impact once you decide to move there. Things like rail lines, a nearby hospital, and highways will definitely improve your access and quality of life, but can also emit unwanted noise levels at odd hours.

On your sightseeing journey, stopping for lunch at local eateries like Big Jones or Lula Cafe can yield lots of valuable information about what it’s really like to live there. Talk to serving staff or friendly patrons about their experiences, and you’ll get lots of valuable insight.

5. Identify the Right Type of Home

There are many types of home out there, from co-op to single-family. Which is right for you? The answer will depend on things like whether or not you plan to expand your family, and what level of privacy you prefer. For example, co-op members may be expected to attend regular meetings with their neighborhood associations and be required to adhere to certain levels of property upkeep.

6. Figure Out How Much You Can Afford

Finding out what you want in a home and a neighborhood has taken some work. Now that it’s done, it’s time to focus on finances.

Before you start calling mortgage providers, however, you’ll want to calculate all of your debts and expenses first. This will provide you with a realistic number, and ensure that you’ll have enough to live on as you make your mortgage payments. This amount can also be plugged into various mortgage calculators which can help you decide on terms, calculate your mortgage tax savings, and much more.

Taking the time to implement the above tips will make finding the right Chicago neighborhood a breeze. If you’re ready to buy, the professionals at A and N Mortgage can help.

About The Author

Neena Vlamis, President of A and N Mortgage

Hi, I’m Neena Vlamis and I am the President and Owner of A and N Mortgage. I have ranked in the Top 200 per Scotsman Guide Magazine for many years in a row and have been a Five Star winner consecutively for the last thirteen years. My razor-sharp focus has led the company to an A+ Better Business Bureau rating since its inception.

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