If you are moving from another state or another part of Colorado, you may be wondering how to find the best neighborhood in Colorado Springs. A good neighborhood can have a big impact on your overall happiness in where you live, and it can greatly influence how much, or how little your home appreciates in value. Real estate industry experts agree that the neighborhood is one of the biggest influencers of a home’s value. Here are some additional factors that you should keep in mind when selecting where you should begin shopping for a home.
Things that Add Value to a Neighborhood
Popular School District
Being in a desirable school district always adds value to a neighborhood. Homes in popular school districts fetch a higher median sales price than homes in less popular school districts. Even if you don't have kids, you should still consider the school district when choosing a neighborhood to live in. Test scores, awards, and other measures of success are often posted on school district websites for potential residents to view. You may also consider visiting a School Board meeting to meet the directors as well as hear what the issues are that the school district faces.
Neighborhood Pool and/or Rec Center
Many of our neighborhoods in Colorado Springs have a private pool or rec center just for residents. Wagon Trails, Banning Lewis Ranch, The Farm, and Woodmen Hills are some, to name a few. Residents pay homeowner association dues for pool and rec center access and enjoy that the amenities are not open to the general public. Neighborhoods with these types of amenities are very popular with young families with children, and a great pool and neighborhood activities can be a big draw.
Neighborhoods surrounding a golf course are always in demand. Homes in such areas usually cost more, but buyers consider it very valuable to live in prestigious golf course communities like Flying Horse, Kissing Camels or Pine Creek.
Neighborhood Trails and Open Space
Coloradans are outdoorsy people. If a neighborhood area has its own trail system or designated open space, people consider that a big plus. Take Wolf Ranch, for example, this neighborhood has a private trail system weaving through it. Buyers that are active and love the outdoors find this attractive and the home values in this area benefit.
Views of Mountains
A neighborhood that offers unobstructed mountain views will always warrant a higher price tag in Colorado Springs. After all, when you live in Colorado you want to see those mountains as much as you can! Luckily there are a lot of neighborhoods around the Pikes Peak region that have a mountain view. The choice becomes, which mountain view do you want?
Near Shopping and Restaurants
Many people like having their restaurants and shopping nearby. The newer the shopping centers and restaurants the better.
Any time you can find a neighborhood bordering a lake or even ponds, it's valuable. Look at the new Forest Lakes community in Monument. The average price there is in the mid $600,000's. Our area of Colorado tends to be a tad dry, so buyers will pay for that precious water nearby or better yet, a water view.
Banning Lewis Ranch is the perfect example of this. Developers designed this neighborhood so that most of the interior streets are cul-de-sacs which means they are not high traffic and are more kid-friendly. Many growing families with youngsters specifically look to live on a cul-de-sac.
Will buyers pay more to live in a gated community? You bet. Look at High Forest Ranch, Kissing Camels or the Broadmoor Resort Community. All of these neighborhoods are gated with 24/7 on-staff security guards, offering residents an exclusive and protected environment. And both are on the higher end of the housing market and home values here are at a premium.
Home Owner's Associations (HOAs)
Most people that support Home Owner's Associations will swear by the positive impact to housing values. But not everybody is a fan of HOAs. If you don't like rules, don't move into this type of covenant-controlled neighborhood. If rules don't bother you, you may indeed gain some additional home value if you buy a home in an HOA.
Factors that May Devalue a Neighborhood
Unpopular School District
Families with school-age children are especially concerned about being in a top-rated school district. One thing to keep in mind is that what some consider a "good" school district or "bad" school district can depend on opinions, rumors, and personal preference. It is always best to try to compare school districts using an analytical apples-to-apples approach using published statistics or ratings from a reliable source. Remember, try to pick the best situation for your specific student and/or family.
Located near a strip club/marijuana facility
We don't have a ton of strip clubs here in Colorado Springs, and of the few that do exist they are far enough away from the houses that values are not drastically affected. Other businesses that may impact the value of a neighborhood or home values might be marijuana-based businesses. Again, this may depend on your personal views, but remember the person buying your home may not have the same views.
Area with a high rent concentration and/or apartment buildings
If the majority of houses in a particular area are rentals, buyers think the neighborhood may not look as appealing. They assume tenants will not properly upkeep the homes, there will be an increase in traffic and/or cars, and new neighbors might rotate every year or so compared to a well-established neighborhood. Apartment buildings that border a backyard are considered a drawback as well due to the density of people, noise, and the normal comings and goings of more people per square ft.
Homeless shelter nearby
Sad as this is, chances are pretty good that a location near a homeless shelter will have a negative impact on the value of a home. In most cases, care is taken to locate these facilities in areas that will not impact home values.
Located near a cemetery/funeral home
We have a few cemeteries and funeral homes in Colorado Springs, but they are in general located in commercial districts. Although the people at these businesses may be particularly quiet, there is a potential for increased traffic, noise, and ceremonies. Think Memorial Day or a large funeral procession.
Power plant/lines/cell towers visible
Those large overhead power lines do negatively affect a property's value. Some of them even make a buzzing noise which makes buyers nervous. It doesn't matter how nice the home is, if it is near a large power plant or power lines, buyers will consider it less valuable. The same goes for cell phone towers, but if it doesn't bother you, you probably will get great cell service.
Near a hospital
This one should be considered on a case-by-case basis. For example, the new Penrose Hospital near Powers and Woodmen is a lovely facility and far enough away from the houses that it has not negatively impacted house values in the nearby neighborhoods. But if you consider the older Penrose hospital downtown, it is right across from a bunch of homes. When those ambulance sirens go off at all hours of the day and night, this makes the nearby houses less appealing.
There are many factors that will go into the decision on how to find a good neighborhood. Remember, what might be important to you might be inconsequential to someone else and vice versa. It is always valuable to consider how easily you think the home might resell when you are ready to move and how much appreciation it may gain (or lose) while you own the property. If you find a perfect home in a neighborhood with more than one devaluing factor, it might be best to regroup and keep looking for a home in a better neighborhood. And of course, once you settle on a neighborhood, there are several other factors to keep in mind to make sure you are making a solid choice.