Is it important to you to be able to walk down to the local coffee shop or a nearby park? If so, you’re not alone. In addition to the all important school district, New Jersey homebuyers today consider factors such as neighborhood walk scores and the proximity of dog parks. They value the layout of neighborhoods, commute times and whether their children will have friends close by. Quality of life is paramount to the modern family and this priority defines the process of buying a home. Here are 5 must-haves for today’s homebuyer:

Walkability

The frenetic pace of life and the constant need to drive has brought walkability to the forefront of homebuying trends as people seek a higher quality of life. A neighborhood walk score measures whether errands need to be run by car, if a resident can walk into town or to a neighbor’s house. People look for cul-de-sacs and quiet streets on which their children can play. There is even a website tool where you can put in your zip code and see the walk score for your town, http://www.walkscore.com/.

Recreation

Another priority for today’s homebuyer is the availability and proximity of parks. Parks offer biking trails, playgrounds, sports fields and exercise paths. They also bring beauty and open space to a town for all the residents to enjoy. In northern New Jersey, the towns are prized for their amenities and parks. To name just a few, Summit has a beautiful one mile running path in Briant Park; Millburn and Short Hills offer ball fields and lighted tennis courts in Gero Park and there is the fabulous Loantaka Brook Reservation near Madison with its multi-use trail system. A short drive from all of the towns in our coverage area is South Mountain Reservation with the Turtle Back Zoo, fishing and family picnic areas.

Dog Parks

Currently, almost 37% of American households own a dog. Many of those homes have multiple dogs. As a result, homebuyers look for dog parks in the nearby area as a means to exercise their pets and socialize at the same time. Dog parks allow pets to run off leash while their owners mix with other dog owners. Some dog parks even host music festivals and annual events. Interestingly, the trend towards smaller, more neighborhood centric dog parks has increased, as today’s homebuyer looks for ways to interact with the community.

Aging in Place

According to AARP, over 90% of Americans want to remain in their homes and age in place. Aging in place is compelling homebuyers to look at prospective houses in a different way. As people age, they want a home that does not need major modifications should they choose to age in place. If home modification is required, homebuyers look for professionals with a new Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) certification. This designation is for realtors, designers and contractors and trains them in the specific needs of aging seniors. The CAPS certification confirms the significance of the aging in place trend and its importance to today’s homebuyer.

A Better Commute

While statistics vary, over 86% of Americans still drive to work. In large metropolitan areas, commuters have to add time to their travel to account for traffic and accidents. Access to public transportation and short commute times have become homebuyer priorities. In our area, the Midtown Direct has transformed housing values for homes within easy access to this train service to Manhattan. Similarly, towns like South Orange benefit from the Jitney which gives residents easy access to two major train stations with lines into New York City.

As homebuyers evolve, so must realtors. It is more important than ever that a realtor be a neighborhood specialist and member of the community, and the Victoria Carter team prides itself on being just that. If you are in search of a new home, contact Victoria Carter at victoria@victoriacarter.com, or call (973) 220-3050. I will help you find a great home and a community that will fulfill your homebuyer’s wishlist!

 

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