Housing Quality of Life: It's the Little Things

Truly, it's the little things that can make or break a new residence. Don't be caught unaware when looking for your next home. Many issues aren't immediately obvious, and you can be sure the listing or leasing agent won't be pointing them out.

Here's a list of things to keep any eye out for:

  • Ease of highway access.
  • Neighborhood street surface quality.
  • Traffic levels during different times of the day and days of the week.
  • Sidewalks: Is the neighborhood car-centric or pedestrian-centric? Are the sidewalks well-maintained?
  • Shade quantity.
  • Ambient noise levels (explore this during multiple times of the day. Beware of intersections with stop signs or traffic lights - accelerating vehicles are LOUD, motorcycles are worse). Also drunks.
  • Ambient light levels: Nonexistant or overbright street lighting, or a neighbor's 24h floodlight).
  • Upcoming nearby construction projects (road or development).
  • Window size, quantity, and quality.
  • Shared walls (a la apartments/condos) are a mixed bag. It feels better in winter (less heat loss), but noise can be a concern.
  • Age and quality of mechanicals and appliances.
  • Power outlet (3 prong?) locations and quantity. GFCIs near water.
  • Natural and artificial light sources and quantity.
  • ISP/cable TV availability and competition (Check for fiber availability).
  • Cellular voice and data service quality on your preferred provider.
  • Broadcast HDTV reception quality.
  • Responsiveness of the local municipality in general.
  • Responsiveness of the local municipality to snow removal.
  • Trash and recycling service options, days and cost.
  • Property tax rate (and upcoming levees).
  • HVAC quality and average monthly cost (ask for previous bills).

Happy hunting!