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Friday, August 21, 2009 @ 4:29:00 PM - Written by Ryan Vaught

August 21, 2009

5 steps to finding a place where you belong
Here are the last two steps, #4 & 5 to choosing a neighborhood.  If you missed the others, check out my blogs from earlier this week.  Hope these tips have helped you in your home search.

STEP 4 -- Find the Clues

Once you've done the background research, visit neighborhoods that made the preliminary grade in person. There's no better way to paint a real picture of life in the neighborhood. Use your senses to get a complete picture of the prospective community.


  • Remember your first impression. What do you notice first about the neighborhood? Do the streets have curb appeal? Are the houses well-maintained? Do the shops and restaurants look hip and inviting? You'll want to feel good about where you call home, and impress buyers when you're ready to move on.
  • Visualize yourself in the neighborhood. Think of your daily routine. If you can't live without a morning latte, is there a coffee shop nearby? Where will you walk your dog or go jogging? You'll enjoy the neighborhood more if it's easy to do what you like.
  • Observe the neighborhood at different times of the day. Driving through will help you get a snapshot of life in the community -- good and bad. Do the roads turn into a parking lot after school or during rush hour? Are people using grills or decks in the evening? Are neighbors and kids socializing or do people keep to themselves? Are the streets well-lit at night? These visual clues can help you decide if you'll fit in.
  • Make sure the local schools make the grade. Even if you don't have kids, pay a visit to the nearby schools. High ratings are great, but seeing the buildings is much more telling. It will be easier to sell your house later if the schools are nice.
  • Look for warning signs. Be on the lookout for signs that the neighborhood is in trouble. Do you see abandoned buildings or vandalism? Are there a lot of "For Sale" signs or rentals? If the community goes downhill, so does your house's value.


  • Stop and listen. Bird and nature sounds are generally pleasant, but what about noise from the highway, airport, hospital, train tracks or nearby clubs and bars? It's not very relaxing to listen to trains screech by during your morning coffee -- especially not every morning.
  • Talk to your future neighbors. Ask how they like the area, and get the dirt on anything they don't like about the place. What do they want to change? What's their favorite place to hang out? If they're rude to you, they probably wouldn't be good neighbors anyway.

STEP 5 -- Close the Case

You've chosen your neighborhood. Now for the hard part: finding a house you love. Luckily, you've narrowed it down to a few streets. Now, make sure to:

  • Find out how much house you can afford. The amount of money a lender offers you is often more than you can truly afford to pay. Use FrontDoor's handy mortgage calculator to add all your current debts and see how much you can afford. You don't want to be stuck eating ramen noodles for the next 15 to 30 years.
  • Compare your loan options. Ask yourself these basic questions to find out what mortgage is right for you.

Article obtained from:

Take a look at my market report for today!

Currently Ryan has about 30+ listings in inventory, and has sold 23 homes in 2009. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions about Chico area real estate.

Interested in learning more about the Chico area or Ryan?
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Keller Williams Chico CA
Office Phone: (530) 343-2959

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New Chico Listings, Chico, CA:

3226 SHALLOW SPRINGS TERR, Chico, CA $594,000.00
  Residential 4 Bedroom 3 Bath Built in 2005   0.46 Acres  3560 Sq. Ft.
  If golf is your passion, this is the home for you. Located right on the golf course. Laundry room upstairs with rich wood cabinets for extra storage space. Really huge room ...

More information on 3226 shallow springs terr
1739 ORIOLE CT, CHICO, CA $315,000.00
  Residential 3 Bedroom 2 Bath Built in 1986   0.21 Acres  1806 Sq. Ft.
  Wonderful westside home featuring open floor plan, vaulted ceiling, dedicated dining back of kitchen. Newer 40yr roof, large back room off of entryway can be used as a family ...

More information on 1739 oriole ct
  Residential 3 Bedroom 2 Bath Built in 1978   0.17 Acres  1498 Sq. Ft.
  Just steps from bidwell park! Well taken care of with newer roof, central heat/air, dual pane windows, exterior paint appliances and backyard decking! Separate living and fami...

More information on 8 vermillion cir
60 NORTHWOOD COMMONS PL, Chico, CA $239,900.00
  Residential 2 Bedroom 2 Bath Built in 1978   1410 Sq. Ft.
  Great Northwest Commons condo located on east end of complex featuring 2 bed, 2 bath, fireplace, open beam ceiling, covered patio and manicured landscape - complex has pool, s...

More information on 60 northwood commons pl
964 KAREN DR, CHICO, CA $199,500.00
  Residential 4 Bedroom 2.5 Bath Built in 1953   1669 Sq. Ft.
  Desirable location located in a quiet cul-de-sac close to shopping, bidwell park, schools. Hardwood floors, dual pane windows. Call agent for showing instructions.

More information on 964 karen dr
852 WISCONSIN ST, Chico, CA $163,000.00
  Residential 2 Bedroom 1 Bath Built in 1937   897 Sq. Ft.
  Pride of ownership. Kitchen completely updated with all new appliances. House is on a double lot. Great home for first time buyer or investor. If no answer please call Sel...

More information on 852 wisconsin st
19 DEAN WAY, CHICO, CA $159,000.00
  Residential 3 Bedroom 1 Bath Built in 1957   1160 Sq. Ft.
  3bd/1ba home close to park, dual pane windows and a fireplace. Hardwood floors and tile through out.

More information on 19 dean way
977 JENOOKE LN, Chico, CA $158,500.00
  Residential 2 Bedroom 1 Bath Built in 1983   876 Sq. Ft.
  Incredible price for this darling home! Beautiful laminate floors in living/dining rooms. Back yard just big enough for a small garden or BBQ under the stars. Front yard is ma...

More information on 977 jenooke ln
2350 #1 NOTRE DAME BLVD, Chico, CA $100,000.00
  Residential 2 Bedroom 1 Bath Built in 1980   864 Sq. Ft.
  Great condo in move-in condition. Downstairs unit featuring dual-pane windows and gas fireplace. Close to shopping and freeway access.

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