6 Steps to Choosing the Right Neighborhood

October 19, 2022

Buying a new home is a fun and exciting process. One of the first steps in that process is deciding where you want to live. Location is so important, but how do you determine where you want to land? Let’s walk through the steps to choosing the right neighborhood for your new home.
At Julia Monaghan Real Estate, we have been helping people buy and sell homes throughout the Portland Metro area for over ten years. Let’s connect if you want to know more about the best neighborhoods to raise a family or fully immerse yourself in the Portland vibe.

Choosing a Neighborhood

There are few decisions more personal than choosing your home. Whether you love the energy of a bustling downtown or prefer a quiet house on a cul-de-sac, your home should be a place that fits you. It should feel, well, like home.
When it’s time to house-hunt, here are six steps that can help you narrow down which neck of the woods you want to claim as your own.

1. Be clear on your budget.

As fun, as it is to dream about the perfect home, we need to work the numbers at some point.
Consider your home-buying budget when choosing the right neighborhood. Some communities and zip codes have significantly higher home values than others which may put them out of your reach for now. Your mortgage preapproval amount will help you and your agent pinpoint realistic neighborhoods for you to consider.
At the same time, if you can be flexible with your list of “must-haves,” there are ways to get into a higher-end area and stay on budget:
  • Consider a fixer-upper if you have the know-how or budget to do the necessary work.
  • Look at homes adjacent to but just outside your desired neighborhood or zip code.
  • Determine if you can get by with lower square footage or fewer bedrooms than you initially wanted.
Everyone is different, and only you can know which items belong at the top of your list and are non-negotiable. Taking time to sort out the most important features will help your home shopping go more smoothly and be more enjoyable.

2. Decide how much of a commute you can tolerate.

For those who work outside of the home, determining an acceptable commute is critical. Do you love your car? If you relish a long commute to enjoy a motorcycle ride or read a book on the MAX, you’ll have plenty of neighborhood options. But if spending more than 20 minutes in traffic ruins your day, ask your realtor to help you cross off any neighborhoods that require lots of windshield time.
Of course, since COVID created a large permanent remote workforce, driving to work may not be part of your equation. In that case, you’re more likely to need an office space for that long commute down the hall.

3. Consider school district options.

If you are a parent or hope to grow your family in the future, take a look at the schools that serve the neighborhoods you like. There are many online resources with information about neighborhood schools, but take their “grades” with a grain of salt and be sure to do your own research. One of the best ideas is to join local Facebook parent groups and ask for input and feedback.

4. Determine the vibe you want in a community.

The Portland Metro area has so much to offer for all kinds of personalities. Do you love to be immersed in the urban vibe, where you can step out your front door and walk to whatever your heart desires? You may find yourself at home in a loft downtown. Or you might enjoy the amazing energy right outside the door of your converted warehouse space in the Pearl District.
But if you like a little less activity and a little more elbow room around your home, you will probably be happier in one of Portland’s suburbs. Collins View in the southwest offers many single-family homes on large lots and historic architecture. Lake Oswego has a wonderful, relaxed atmosphere and an inviting, walkable downtown.

5. Keep your hobbies and adventures in mind.

The Pacific Northwest is full of fabulous activities. If you have a favorite location to spend your free time, you may get to enjoy it more often if your home is nearby.
Do you love hiking? Consider which trails are within easy distance of the areas on your shortlist. If you prefer to stick to paved paths, there are many fantastic community trails throughout the PDX neighborhoods.
For those who can’t get enough of the Oregon coast, a Westside home could shave an hour off the time it takes to drive to the beach. But if Mt. Hood is more your thing, then an Eastside home might make more sense.
If your idea of a perfect day includes a round or two of golf, you’ll find several amazing courses in and around Portland. Avid golfers may want to consider which courses they love when choosing their next neighborhood.

6. Think about the architecture and style.

Portland is a “weird” city, but it is also a stylish one. If you want to express your personal taste through architecture, PDX has you covered!
Whether you love a classic mission-style home or have your heart set on new construction, you will find neighborhoods that cater to your likes. From individual houses to whole streets, architectural variety is everywhere.
Cedar Hills and Sylvan can provide that midcentury feel. And Ladd’s Addition is perfect for you if you’re in love with the Craftsman style of architecture. With loads of two-story homes, chunky columns, and deep overhangs, you’ll feel the history of this neighborhood.
The architecture in Portland is amazing, so use your style preferences to help you when narrowing your search.

Where Do You Want to Live?

Choosing the right neighborhood might feel like a big decision, but the truth is that it’s hard to go wrong in the Portland area. Like anything in life, each community has pros and cons, but with our expert help, you’ll find the best spot for your needs.
Our Julia Monaghan Real Estate team knows and loves PDX. We are happy to guide you through all of the fantastic Portland neighborhoods at your pace to help you find your next home. Reach out today to get the ball rolling.

Work With Julia

I’d truly like to see how I can help you attain your real estate goals. It is my passion to help people whether it’s meeting an immediate need or helping create a long-term plan. Contact me today. I’ll be in touch right away. I’d love to grab a coffee or a beer and talk about your goals.