Choosing Where you Want to Live in Charlottesville – Walkability and Safety Top the List

Choosing where you live is a huge, immensely significant decision. As I jokingly tell my buyer clients – “it’s no big deal … you’re just deciding where you’re going to live for the next five to ten years … “

Last year I asked you what were the most important factors when evaluating where you want to live. I’m finally getting around to publishing the results. (and thank you to all who answered – for answering and for your patience).

While by no means a scientific survey, as the RealCentralVA readership is probably skewed (I’d argue towards the more informed) 86 responses isn’t insignificant.

Not surprisingly, the top two answers to “What’s the most important factor when choosing a neighborhood?” are “Maximum walkability” and “Quietest/safest.” “Other” came in a reasonable third place.

What's the most important factor when choosing a neighborhood in Charlottesville?

What’s the 2nd most important factor when choosing a neighborhood? Revealed an interesting shift – “safety” and “neighborhood with character” came in 1st and 2nd with “activities for kids” edging out walkability and length of commute. Sadly, there are few “neighborhoods with character” being built in Charlottesville, so new construction buyers are left choosing from either soulless “neighborhoods” or older housing stock that likely needs some degree of renovation and updating, but may have the “proximity to stuff” that matters.

What's the 2nd most important factor when choosing a neighborhood?

From my perspective, everything is about location (naturally) – but “quality location” can be a relative term.


The “Other” responses were interesting – perhaps more interesting than the choices I offered in the survey itself. Bolding are the words of the respondents. Non-bold are my brief insights

– Price. Housing prices are ridiculous paired with the salaries of many jobs here.
Strong sense of community/neighbor interactions
School District
Surrounding environment (outdoor activities, schools, neighborhood community values) – more and more of my clients are stating explicitly that they want to be in a strong community – they want to be part of something.
Rules & Regs — lawn mowing; clothes lines; home improvements; etc. – few of my clients want to live in a community with a homeowners’ association, but HOAs are seemingly unavoidable if you choose to live in a neighborhood built in the last 30 years.
Density (2nd most important) – folks like being in a community
Multi-income/price points (2nd most important) –
Different types of homes (2nd most important) – architecturally diverse neighborhoods just aren’t being built right now.

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1 Comment

  1. Simon Campbell May 29, 2013 at 08:12

    Price is important but when it really comes down to it, once the purchase is made, the safety and neighborhood quality are what matters. As long as you can afford the mortgage payment, this has little daily impact. Living in a high crime area which children will create daily worries. A point that should not be overlooked when making a purchasing decision.

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