| Buying | By Anslie Stokes

Most home hunters who we work with have a firm idea of where they’d like to buy. They’ve fallen in love with a particular neighborhood, like Dupont Circle or Chevy Chase, and they’re reluctant to look in other areas.

As real estate agents, there’s nothing we enjoy more than putting people in their dream homes. That said, for various reasons (from budget limitations to lack of availability), you may not be able to move into your perfect house or condo in your ideal neighborhood.

If this sounds like you, we have some good news. Extending your search outside of your preferred geographic boundaries can increase your chances of finding a gorgeous home in an area that suits your needs. Here, we’ll look at some steps you can take to find the right neighborhood.

Make a list of must-have amenities

When you’re renting, it’s fine to choose an area just because it’s exciting or aesthetically beautiful. But buying a home is a much bigger commitment. That’s why it’s important to think carefully about whether a neighborhood’s amenities will work with your current and future lifestyle.

Should having nearby parks and daycare centers be your priority? Would access to great local restaurants and nightlife offer you a higher quality of life?

Sometimes when you’re home hunting, you have to make compromises. That doesn’t mean giving up on what you want—it means clarifying what’s most important to you.

Once you know what you want, you can create a comprehensive list of D.C. neighborhoods that have real potential.


Consider how you’ll get around

How much do walkability and access to public transit matter to you? If the answer is “a lot,” you might want to look closer at areas like Mount Pleasant or Columbia Heights.

Do you use a car to get around? In that case, proximity to major highways might be a bigger consideration. If you work in central D.C., you might also want to read up on which areas have the longest daily commutes.

For most homebuyers, access to the rest of the city is a major factor when they’re deciding where to purchase. If this sounds familiar, you might want to map out the journey from your areas of interest to your place of work (and any other destinations you visit regularly).

Compare pricing in various neighborhoods

Creating a list of D.C. neighborhoods that match your lifestyle is a great first step toward finding the right home. That said, if you’re like most people, home prices will play a role in where you decide to live.

When prices limit a buyer’s options, they often wind up looking in lesser-known and up-and-coming areas. We can tell you from experience that many homebuyers are pleasantly surprised by how much value they can find once they’ve expanded their search.

To find a neighborhood that will work with your budget as well as your lifestyle, look at specific listings in the areas that you’ve identified as having potential. Identifying trends in prices can help steer you toward parts of D.C. that will work for your financial situation.

If you’re ready to start browsing listings, we can help you get started.

Research the types of homes available

Condo or townhouse? Townhouse or single-family home? Tudor or Victorian? Focusing on the size and style of home you’re looking for can open up new opportunities you might not otherwise have considered.

For example, if you’re dreaming of a gorgeous single-family home, you might want to think about the relatively-affordable houses in Brightwood (as well as those in neighborhoods like Chevy Chase). If you love the charming row houses in Capitol Hill, then Petworth might be a another neighborhood worth exploring (you might even find something more spacious there).


Look into school districts

In most cases, buying a home is about planning for the future. If you have children—or you’re planning to in the next few years—you might want to include proximity to top-notch educational facilities in your homebuying criteria.

As part of your home hunt, consider doing some online research to see what kind of schools exist in your areas of interest. The website www.greatschools.org is a good starting point. Speaking to your real estate agent can also provide you with a better idea of what’s available.


Are you looking for a home in the D.C. area? We have the local market expertise to help you find a home and community that will suit your needs. Call us at 202-270-1081 or send us an email here to get the answers you need.



The Stokes Group is a team of dedicated professionals who have passion for the real estate business and will advocate for our clients with the utmost honesty, integrity, and confidentiality. We believe in building solid relationships with our clients and that starts by getting to know who we are. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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