What Makes a Neighborhood Great?

I recently watched an interesting clip of Mr. Rogers testifying before Congress way-back-when to request additional funding for public television and it got me thinking about the many wonderful neighborhoods I work in around Metro Denver.

Charming Cherry Trees

What commonalities do great neighborhoods share? It isn’t about fancy cars parked in every driveway – not that a certain level of wealth can’t contribute to positive aspects of a neighborhood. Established trees and historic homes are wonderful, but nearly-new suburban neighborhoods can be charming, too. The factors that influence the relative character of a neighborhood go deeper than material wealth or history. Let’s take a closer look.

Great neighborhoods share the following factors:

  • Pride in Ownership. This factor goes beyond curb appeal. Whether a neighborhood is affluent, middle class or quite modest, pride of ownership is witnessed from every street corner in front and backyards and in everyday interactions between neighbors. The privilege of living in a great neighborhood brings a smile to residents’ faces and a feeling of, “C’mon in,” to passersby.  
  • Family Friendly. For the right person, a hi-rise condo downtown is the ultimate place to live, and certainly offers its own unique “neighborhood” feel for the people who live there. If you hop in your car and cruise the streets of Metro Denver, one key to neighborhood greatness is whether the area is family friendly. This includes the demeanor of residents and is characterized by a willingness to shovel Mrs. Hansen’s driveway when the snow flies because you respect your elders, and an open mind toward activities like lemonade stands and school fundraisers. Sidewalks and streets wide enough to ride a bicycle past parked cars helps, too.
  • Excellent Schools. Phenomenal schools tend to attract families who are interested in their children’s educational success, and Colorado is no exception. Visit this site or others like it to determine the quality of schools in a neighborhood you are considering, or to find out if your school is making the grade. Even if you don’t have children, buying in a neighborhood attached to an excellent school district will help your home maintain and grow in value at a higher rate than a home in a poorly performing school district, and education is a strongly held value for Denver buyers.
  • Low Crime Rates. One aspect of crime rates in your own neighborhood or a desired neighborhood to pay attention to is historical trends. If crime has been on the decline for the past few years, the state of the neighborhood is likely on the upswing and residents are actively tuned in to making it a better, safer place to live. If, on the other hand, a neighborhood has seen an increase in crimes like break ins and auto theft over a period of time, this may be a neighborhood worth avoiding.
  • Convenient Distance to Necessities, Public Transit and Medical Care. Choosy buyers want convenience when they settle into a home, and for most people this means a quick drive to the grocery store and other need-based shopping, easy access to public transit like the city bus or Light Rail, and a reasonable drive to the hospital in case of emergencies or even access to one or more urgent care facilities, which have skyrocketed in popularity in the past 5-10 years. If these things matter to you, start in your desired neighborhood and drive to each of the places that matter most to you – everything from a particular brand of salon to a gas station to your favorite grocery store to the local hospital. This is one of the best ways to find out not only driving distance to the amenities that matter most to you, but what traffic patterns are like on the way there.
  • Proximity to Culture. Does your area of town boast art museums or antique shops? Are there other unique shops or restaurants to be found in your suburb’s downtown, or do you have to drive into Denver proper or another nearby city for great grub? Are you as close to sporting events or music and theatrical opportunities as you’d like to be? Proximity to culture can add to or even define a great neighborhood. If cultural influence is a priority for your lifestyle or family, you should consider this factor in landing on the ideal neighborhood to call home.
  • Close to Nature. This is a big factor for many Coloradans! You don’t have to call Red Rocks home or build a log cabin on the side of a mountain to embrace the natural wonder of our state, but the ability to hop on a bike or walking path within a few steps out your front or back door is a big deal. If your family spends every possible weekend in the Rockies hiking, camping, fly fishing… you should live as close to this outdoor playground as you possibly can. If a morning jog or an evening stroll are part of your routine, find a neighborhood adjacent to the Cherry Creek Trail or even Cherry Creek State Park. Metro Denver has many neighborhoods with idyllic settings and opportunities to get back to nature in your own neighborhood.

Are you wondering what kind of prices homes in your neighborhood are commanding, or what it would cost you to get into the neighborhood of your dreams? I’ve been helping people buy and sell homes across Denver for many years, and I would love the opportunity to help you score a deal in your favorite neighborhood or sell your current property for top dollar.

Give me a call!

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
Twitter: @jackestate


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