How to Move – Pick a Neighborhood

by Nick Molnar on January 4, 2007

There are dozens of ways to choose a house. Your priority may be to have a first floor master suite, to get the absolute best deal in the city, or to live to the east of where will work so the sun won’t blind you during your commute.

One way to move is to pick a neighborhood that you love. Some people argue that suburban sprawl has made neighborhoods interchangeable. These are generally people who live in cities that make much of their varied neighborhoods and who have never spent much time in any suburb. I know because I used to be one of these people. The truth is that neighborhoods vary a great deal. Some have sidewalks and streetlights. Others don’t. Some have winding streets while others are on a grid system. Some are still growing with visible construction and others have covenants that are about to expire. Some are in high demand and filled with appreciating houses while others are in the path of planned highway expansion.

Neighborhoods vary, so if you find one you love it pays to keep an eye on it even if it doesn’t have any houses for sale. My wife found the neighborhood we live in by accident. Then as she describes it, she “stalked it until a good house came on the market.” When she told me about using her lunch break to drive around looking for yard signs and stopping pedestrians on the street to chat with them, I thought there had to be a better way.

After extensive research, I’ve found out there isn’t one. I’ve looked at all the online real estate sites and they either don’t have anything about South Bend and Granger and Mishawaka, or what they have is a poorly applied generic template that claims to tell you if a neighborhood is “hot.” Many of these sites don’t even get the neighborhood boundaries right.

I love South Bend and I hate seeing it get short shrift on the web. I also know the area so I decided to try my hand at making a better neighborhood guide for Granger. I’m starting with seven of my favorite Granger neighborhoods: Anderson Lake Estates, Brendon Hills, Covington Shores, Devonshire, Fox Chase, Quail Ridge and Waterford Green. I’ve made a map-based guide to these seven spots where you can find current listings and sales data for every sale in that neighborhood in 2006. You can also register to receive e-mail updates every time a house changes price in that neighborhood or a new house comes on the market. That means no more driving around them on your lunch break looking for signs. Take that time and try one of the area’s restaurants instead.

I’m looking for feedback, so let me know your thoughts. Is the map helpful? Is there anything else you’d like to see? I’m collecting data for many more neighborhoods I plan to add, and can create custom searches for any neighborhood or any other criteria. If you have a favorite neighborhood and would like some help keeping an eye on it, contact me and I’ll get started freeing up your lunches.

Nick Molnar

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kelly January 29, 2007 at 9:47 am

Our family just relocated to South Bend from California and we have spent several weekends finding neighborhoods that we now “stalk” for the perfect house. The neighborhoods in South Bend have so much personality and charm it is easy to find one to love.
Knowing what houses are selling for and signing up for the automatic MLS emails have helped us to understand the area in comparison to what we are used to. It is helpful to see how close the house will be to local shopping, schools ect…and if we will have to go over several railroad crossings on our way to work.
Keep up the good work on this blog! It has come in very handy.


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