This isn’t your grandfather’s housing market. (And, of course, you’re not your grandfather.) So there’s a good chance you’re not so keen on the conventions of conventional new neighborhoods, such as lookalike exteriors. Or having to drive everywhere. Or un-neighborly neighborhoods.
The answer? Find a place created with exceptional community design. Here’s what to look for:
1. Healthy, leg-powered living
When touring neighborhoods, keep your eyes open for kids playing outside or walking to school, couples taking after-dinner strolls and longboarders speeding by — all signs of a community designed more for people than cars. Also, look for wide sidewalks and a robust network of trails, which can make life healthier and more sociable, too. (Friendships can often grow from a simple hello on the trail.)
Good neighborhood schools translate to fewer daily car trips, and using the buddy system on walks to school makes, well, buddies. And if the neighborhood has great parks, shops and restaurants you can walk or bike to, all the better.
2. Appealing architecture
Classic Salt Lake City neighborhoods like Sugarhouse charge top dollar for their architectural flavor and variety. Newer neighborhoods may cost less but often lack aesthetic appeal. The sweet spot is a neighborhood of well-priced homes with a visual variety that reflects individual taste and honors the region’s traditional home styles in an authentic way.
Of course, a big perk of buying a new home is getting a floor plan that’s better suited to modern life. Keep your eyes open for a place that has invested in creating homes that are wrapped in great exterior architecture and filled with the latest ideas.
3. Headache-free commuting
If you hate sitting in traffic (and who doesn’t), be very, very aware of your new commute before you buy. Even the dreamiest house isn’t worth a twice-daily nightmare. See what Google Maps estimates for your rush hour drive time. Even better, check out neighborhoods with easy access to light rail. That way, you can leave the stress of driving to someone else while you catch up on the news, sleep or, yes, social media.
4. Genuine sense of community
Great design is easy to see in a beautiful home. In a community, you’ll recognize it by its effect: the friendly, tight-knit feel of a small town.
Look for connection points in the places you visit. Is there a central park or some other centerpiece recreational feature? Places to chat over coffee, meet for lunch or browse for gifts all provide opportunities for neighborliness. Ask about community-wide events like outdoor concerts, festivals and farmers markets, which create memories for your family and build friendships with your neighbors. Because isn’t that what a neighborhood is all about?
A good example
One place you can find this genuine sense of community is Daybreak in South Jordan. Here you’ll discover neighborhoods that are walkable by design, with parks, shops, cafes and a big lake all connected by an extensive trail network. The homes have an eye-popping level of architectural authenticity and variety. And with Daybreak’s two light rail stations, commuting downtown is smooth and easy.
This article originally appeared on KSL.com, view the article.