Montgomery, Alabama, is an attractive location for home buyers. Prices are reasonable, taxes are low, and the market is on the up and up. These factors combine to make Alabama’s capital an excellent place to live and a smart location in which to buy.
Of course, not all Montgomery neighborhoods are equally desirable. If you’re moving to the city to be closer to your new job or it’s time to upgrade your living quarters, you’ll want to carefully consider the best neighborhoods in Montgomery before you put down a deposit.
Whether you need more room for your growing family or are downscaling as your adult children have all flown the nest, you’ll want to keep these important considerations in mind when you start looking for a property to buy or a lot for your new construction home.
Top Tips for Choosing a Location for Your New Construction Home
If you are looking to buy a new home, choosing the right neighborhood is one of the most important decisions you can make. Luckily, making the right decision can be easy with a little guidance. Let’s look at some factors you’ll need to consider when scouting for a property to purchase.
1. What can you afford?
House hunting can be stressful but i’s also a lot of fun. You get to choose the home that suits you and your family. Something a little roomier. Or cozier. A new neighborhood to explore. Local restaurants to make your own. But, at the same time, you need to be realistic about what you can afford. If you aim for too expensive a home, you risk overspending or being denied a mortgage in the first place.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be an effective way to know what you can afford. However, it pays to shop around for the best mortgage rates. Over the long term, even a slightly lower rate can save you a considerable amount of money.
What impacts affordability?
The mortgage you qualify for is calculated by your ability to repay the loan. A mortgage lender will want to know more about your financial history to determine your maximum mortgage payment ability. They’ll assess your salary, plus any other sources of wealth, verify your credit score and confirm how much debt you currently have.
There’s another factor to consider: how much cash do you have available for a down payment? Conventional loans require a 3% downpayment, but a 20% down payment is ideal. The more you can pay upfront, the less you will need to borrow, and the lower your monthly mortgage payments.
2. Additional costs
A house may be one of the largest and most significant assets they’ll ever buy. However, while the actual cost of purchasing a home is an essential factor, property price isn’t the only consideration for overall affordability. Rates, taxes, and other fees will also affect your monthly expenditure. And, of course, the cost of living in each neighborhood can vary significantly.
Property tax rates
Property taxes are levied against a property according to its value. The local government assesses the property’s value according to a defined methodology and taxes the property accordingly.
How much tax you have to pay is determined by two factors: the (official) value of the property and the local tax rate. Fortunately for homeowners looking in Montgomery, Alabama’s property tax rate is low by US standards.
Annual Homeowners Association (HOA) fees
Unlike taxes, Homeowners Association (HOA) fees are private, set by the homeowners through their HOA.
Not all neighborhoods have HOA fees. Where they do apply, you can expect to pay somewhere in the range of $200 to $300 per year. Of course, the annual fee may be considerably higher in very upmarket developments.
HOAs usually operate within a common property, such as planned communities or condominiums. The fees are used for general maintenance, but they may also fund building new facilities, such as leisure or entertainment areas.
HOA fees are, therefore, not just about how much you spend but how much value you get for your money. For example, at the Sturbridge community development, neighborhood amenities covered by HOA fees include a swimming pool, a fitness center, tennis courts, a lake for fishing, and more.
Cost of living
We’ve discussed the fixed costs of owning a home, but what about day-to-day expenses? These will also be affected by where you choose to live.
- Transport is an important one. If you commute using your own car, consider the distance from home to work, affecting fuel and maintenance costs. Then there’s insurance: your premiums will be affected by several factors.
- Don’t forget about utilities. Regional climates play a vital role in this regard. Depending on the average temperatures, you may have to spend more to heat or cool your home. It’s something to bear in mind, especially if you are new to the area and unfamiliar with the local climate.
- What are the costs of a simple visit to the grocery store? How much are groceries and essential supplies in the area? If you’re attracted to a neighborhood’s vibrant restaurant, bar, and nightlife scene, consider whether those attractions are priced at a premium.
3. Local land-use regulations
Many private property owners rarely even think about zoning. It’s an obvious concern for developers who want to be sure they have the right to use a plot of land to develop shops or factories. But land-use regulations can affect the value of your investment – and your quality of life.
For example, if nearby land is turned into an industrial site, that could mean noise and air pollution. That’s not just potentially unpleasant; it could negatively affect the value of your house. It could even impact your family’s health.
However, that’s not to say you should necessarily prefer strict zoning rules that only allow for residential properties. If developers build shops, offices, and amenities in your neighborhood, it could add variety and interest to your area and increase property prices.
Young professionals may welcome upzoning that leads to more development. Families with small children or retirees may prefer the assurance of a quiet residential area.
4. Schooling options
Choosing a neighborhood with good schools is an absolute priority for many parents. Online rankings may help you start your investigation, but if you’re serious about finding the best schools, you may want to visit them in person.
5. Proximity to additional amenities
While you may prefer a quieter lifestyle in your immediate area, easy access to shops, restaurants, and entertainment is always highly desirable. And, of course, it’s important to have fast access to hospitals and other essential services. At the same time, you don’t want to be too close to main roads and heavy traffic.
Lowder New Homes in Montgomery
Now that you have a roadmap for choosing the perfect neighborhood to buy a house, you can start narrowing down your choices. Fortunately, Montgomery has several great home options to choose from in communities offering green spaces, vibrant cultural amenities, and buzzing restaurants and cafes.
Best of all, this quality of life doesn’t come at a premium. According to Best Places statistics, living costs in Montgomery, Alabama, are cheaper than the US average!
Lowder New Homes Neighborhoods
If convenience and luxury are a priority, consider Deer Creek, located in East Montgomery. This community features a gated entrance for enhanced security, stocked fishing ponds, a fitness center with all the latest equipment, a water splash park for the kids, and outdoor trails for running or walking.
Hampstead’s 3-acre community farm offers sustainable living at its best and boasts numerous home plans designed to appeal to a range of tastes and interests. Amenities in this vibrant community include a Village Center, tennis courts, dog parks, a library, the Hampstead Athletic Club, and a salon and spa. Shops and restaurants are all within walking distance.
For families, Sturbridge and Newpark are right by Montgomery’s newest schools, including Park Crossing High School and James W. Wilson, Jr. Elementary School.
Sturbridge has an active social clubhouse, Olympic pool, tennis courts, and a multi-purpose sports park, amongst other facilities.
New Park’s range of new generation homes is ideal for prospective home buyers from all walks of life, whether first-time property investors, new families or the recently retired.
StoneyBrooke in East Montgomery is a perfect family neighborhood, offering leisure living at its best. This beautiful community boasts a lake, sprawling, well-manicured grounds, shaded walkways and exercise trails, a kids’ playground, and more!
Of course, choosing a new construction home isn’t just about how the community looks now. What will your neighborhood look like in the future? The good news is that all Lowder New Homes have land-use restrictions in place to protect your investment. Lots can only be used for single-family residential properties, and no industrial or commercial activities will be permitted.
Considering the strategic location and family-friendly zoning laws, you get the best of both worlds. Friendly communities, exciting housing options, low taxes, and superior quality of life for less money make Montgomery an attractive area for prospective homeowners.
And with exceptional facilities and prime locations, it’s no surprise that homeowners prize the beautiful and functional Lowder New Homes communities.
Browse our new homes for sale in Montgomery or read our New Construction Home Buying Process guide for more information.