Finding your new dream home is a lot like dating! A big part of choosing that “perfect” home is finding just the right neighborhood.
A lot of people will have a very specific idea of where they want to live in Seattle— “I know I want to live in Capitol Hill.” “We need to live in Queen Anne.” It’s perfectly fine to have an idea of where you want to live, but I encourage you to keep an open mind! There are a ton of Seattle neighborhoods and sub-neighborhoods that often go overlooked just because a lot of people don’t know they’re there.
Anyway, back to dating! It’s one thing to look at a neighborhood’s specs online, and another to get out and experience it in person. (Remind anyone of online dating at all?!) If the businesses, restaurants, people and culture of a neighborhood are important to you, then you’ll definitely want to spend some time with your new potential stomping ground!
Here are a few of my recommendations and ideas for how to date a neighborhood:
Eat out at a couple restaurants. First of all, is this even important to you? If you like to be able to walk to dinner, or grab a convenient brunch on the weekend, keep that in mind. Is it mostly hole-in-the-wall joints? Are the restaurants trendy, pricey affairs? Do you like the vibe?
Check out the coffeeshops. Do you care if Starbucks is the only option? Do you enjoy having an independent coffee roaster nearby? Do you like having a late-night cafe to work at? Visiting a coffeeshop can tell you a lot about neighborhood—is it mostly students, or does it seem like self-employed folks?
Go to the Farmers Markets. This is an excellent way to check out your potential new neighbors! Are there lots of families? Lots of young people, older people, college students? Also, is there even a Farmers Market, and is this something you enjoy having nearby?
Go to the grocery store. What grocery stores are nearby? Are there big chain stores, organic/locally sourced options, ethnic food options, etc.? Is being able to walk to the grocery store important to you? If you drive, then is there parking? These things might sound kind of silly—you’re trying to buy a house, after all! But these are the things that will matter once you settle down, and it’s a big investment that you want to be sure of! People do not travel to another neighborhood to go to the store like they would for a restaurant. So at a grocery store you get to see more of who is living nearby.
Take a walk. Check out the parks (are there parks?), walk through residential areas! Are there sidewalks? Are lots of people out?
Would you like to chat with Matt? You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call at (206) 353-0169!