Posted by Sharon Fennell Kennedy: Monday, April 10, 2023: St. Petersburg, FL: Pinellas County
When looking to buy a new home an important question to ask yourself is: “Where do I want to live?” Why? Because along with the house, you are investing in a neighborhood – the two are synonymous.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Neighborhood
An article by Twin Cities Habitat for Humanities (https://www.tchabitat.org/blog/choosing-a-neighborhood) lists the following six factors to consider when searching for your ideal location.
1. Neighborhood Safety
- The safety of a neighborhood is a very important factor when looking to buy a house, especially if you have children. Here are some things you can look into to help you get a better sense of whether or not a neighborhood feels safe:
- Crime statistics: Every area will have some criminal activity from time to time, so don’t be overly discouraged if you can’t find a completely crime-free area. However, if you check criminal reports through the city website or contact local law enforcement and notice a high level of activity, it may be a red flag.
- Neighborhood watch: Is there a neighborhood watch group established in the area? This may not be a deal breaker, but it’s something some families value. Ask local law enforcement or one of the residents. You might also see a street sign indicating it is a neighborhood watch area.
- Street lighting: An adequate amount of street lighting can help one feel safer in a neighborhood.
- Talk with neighbors: If you see someone walking their dog, mowing the lawn, or just grabbing their mail, introduce yourself by telling them you may be interested in moving to the neighborhood. Residents can tell you whether or not they feel the area is safe. Spending time in a neighborhood you’re looking at is a good idea.
2. Closest Grocery, Pharmacy, and Stores
Food, medications, and toiletries are necessities for daily life. If convenience is important to you, you may want to consider choosing a location that’s close to where you will be running a majority of your errands. Unless you’re looking at a rural location, of course. Map out where the neighborhood is in relation to the nearest pharmacy, grocery, and stores. If these stores are not close to your home, but are on your way to and from work, school, or daycare, that is also something that may factor into your decision.
3. School District
Whether you are planning to have children in the near future, you just had your first child, or you have children in school already, finding a well-performing school district is something many families prioritize when looking for the right location to live. How do you determine if a school district is “good” or not?
- Test scores and data: State test scores can be an indicator of whether a certain school district is performing at, below, or above the state average.
- Programming: School programming can be a big deal for some families. If your student does well in many classes, you may want to see if the district you’re considering offers Advanced Placement classes or college-level courses that can go toward an education after high school.
- Extracurricular activities: Finding a district that caters to your children’s interests and strengths will help toward their success.
- Sports programs: Double check to see what athletic programs are offered.
4. Nearby Parks, Walking Paths, or Dog Parks
Even if you’re looking to buy a home during the winter season, it is still important to check out the outdoor amenities a neighborhood has to offer. You may want to consider taking a drive or walk around the area, and checking for things like:
- Sidewalks: This may not be a deal breaker for you, but sidewalks make a neighborhood more pedestrian friendly. Instead of biking or walking on the street, where cars are driving, you have the safety of a sidewalk.
- Parks: Speaking of parks, is there one within walking distance? Or is it a short drive away? What amenities does the park have? If it’s not something you would visit, it might not matter, or it might deter you from buying a house in that neighborhood.
- Walking trails: Maybe you take your dog for a walk every morning before you go to work, or you enjoy a family stroll after dinner. Look around for nearby walking trails or locate a city trail map.
5. Commute to Work
Where you work in relation to where you live is an important factor to consider, especially if your goal is to have a short commute. If driving yourself isn’t an option, or one you prefer to avoid, look into transportation options such as metro transit buses or light rail.
6. Types of Restaurants in the Area
Since food is a daily necessity but you don’t always have time to buy groceries and prepare a home-cooked meal, you may find it valuable to have dining options in the area.
St. Petersburg, FL Neighborhoods
With just over 265,000 people, the City of St. Petersburg has about 100 neighborhoods, most with active, family-oriented associations. Some of the most popular include Allendale Terrace, Bahama Shores, Bayway Isles, Coquina Key, Crescent Heights, Crescent Lake, Downtown, Greater Pinellas Point, Historic Kenwood, Historic Old Northeast, Historic Roser Park, Historic Uptown, Isla del Sol, Old Southeast, Placida Bayou and Snell Isle. For more information about them, visit http://www.stpete.org/neighborhoods/
With over 25 years in real estate sales, RE/MAX Metro realtor Estelia Mesimer can tell you all about them. Estelia has seen trends come and go, neighborhoods change and the value of properties increase and decrease.
Determining whether you love the house you’re looking at or the neighborhood is helpful. If you’re lucky they match, but for the times they don’t, you’ll need to rely on your realtor to give you options.
Estelia Mesimer, RE/Max Metro: St. Petersburg, FL: Pinellas County
Bottom Line: The way to choose the right neighborhood for your needs and your budget requires research, some soul-searching about your priorities and working with a trusted realtor like Estelia Mesimer.
About the author:
Sharon Fennell Kennedy is a real estate blogger for The Mesimer Team – REMAX/Metro in St. Petersburg, FL and grant writer specializing in non-profits. She enjoys antiquing and repurposing flea market finds, yoga, walking and reading. You can connect with Sharon on www.Estelia.com or www.sharon-kennedy.com
Photo Courtesy: Allendale Park | St. Petersburg Parks
St. Petersburg Communities
Greater Pinellas Point
Historic Old Northeast
Historic Roser Park
Isla del Sol
If you’re interested in any of these of communities or live in one and are thinking of selling, talk to The Mesimer Team.