Where people choose to settle down, plant roots, and raise a family is just as important as the physical property they buy. You want it to be safe with a low crime rate, affordable, and offer family-oriented amenities for you and your children, such as playgrounds and a good school district. You also want a neighborhood where your child or children can meet new playmates and make new friends.
Fortunately, there are many Napa homes for sale in communities where you can find all the conveniences and features you desire for raising your family. Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Calistoga, CA, or homes for sale in St. Helena, CA, Connie & Jamie can guide you through the pros and cons of different Napa neighborhoods and help you choose a community that meets all your growing family’s needs.
How to Pick the Right Home and Neighborhood to Raise Your Family
If you’re in the planning stages for purchasing a home in Napa, CA, always keep in mind that you’re buying a house and investing in a neighborhood. Here’s how to start your search.
Ask the Right Questions
What makes a neighborhood special to you? Do all family members share your preferences? Choices to think about include whether you want to:
- Live in the middle of the action or in a quieter neighborhood.
- Be able to walk to amenities like parks, shops, and the library.
- Have easy access to restaurants.
- Live in an older community or a newer development.
As you think it through, the individual needs of family members. Do you have young children who will need to get to daycare or school? If one or both parents work outside the home, is the commute reasonable so time can be spent with family, not on the road?
Check Online Crime Rates
A family-friendly neighborhood is one where people know their neighbors and children are safe from crime and violence. Today, it’s easier than ever to discover the crime rate in any given neighborhood, town, or city. Just type “crime statistics by neighborhood” for the city you’re researching. The FBI also offers an online database of crime trends. You can also read crime reports in local papers or contact the local police department which can provide details about a particular area. Take the opportunity to ask how active the community is and if they’re involved in crime prevention or community policing.
Drive and Walk Around Potential Neighborhoods
It’s always a good idea to drive and walk through the neighborhoods you’re interested in at different times of the day to get a sense of their highs and lows.
- Look for graffiti or other types of vandalism.
- Do a high percentage of homes have bars on the windows or “Beware of Dog” signs?
- Are homes and yards well-kept?
- When walking, do people you meet make eye contact with or greet you?
- Are the streets quiet or noisy?
- Do you see children playing in yards or in the park?
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for vacant lots and abandoned buildings, as there’s a chance they could turn into commercial developments that change the look and feel of the neighborhood. Note the traffic and speed and if the streets seem quiet or noisy.
Before you choose a neighborhood, use online tools to find out what commutes to work or school might look like. For instance, the commute time between St. Helena and Napa has increased from 20 minutes in the 80s to 45 minutes or more today.
While most Napans get around by car, you should also look into public transportation options. Calistoga and St. Helena both have an on-demand shuttle service, and the Napa Valley has “The Vine,” a fixed-route bus service.
Bike lanes are also increasing on major routes around the City of Napa and provide a quick and safe north-south connection.
The sure signs of good neighborhoods are well-kept schools. If you have children, finding a good school is most likely your top priority when searching for a home. You can read online about Calistoga Joint Unified, St. Helena Unified, and Napa Valley Unified and also visit individual school websites. Look for things like class size, student performance, and graduation rates.
Current Housing Value
Talk to a local real estate agent about:
- What houses in neighborhoods you’re considering are currently valued at.
- How the figure compares with the average five and ten years ago.
- Whether and how the neighborhood has changed in the past five years.
- What the current property tax rate is, how much it’s increased over the past five years, and whether another increase is in the offing.
Real estate agents are typically a good source for future residential and commercial developments, too, but you can also get the information through the local Chamber of Commerce or the town’s city hall. Keep in mind that future developments can significantly change a neighborhood and increase taxes and traffic. Before buying a property in an area slated for development, think about whether that choice is suitable for you and your family.
When it comes to children, parks and playgrounds are a must. It’s where your child gets to socialize, play with others, and burn off excess energy, and where you get to know your neighbors. Other things to consider include:
- How close your new home is to grocery and convenience stores.
- Safe streets where children can ride bikes or play in the front yard.
- Access to medical care for every member of the family.
- A neighborhood’s “walkability” score. Communities with sidewalks tend to have more families taking evening or weekend strolls, children on bikes, and sidewalk chalk art.
As a parent, building relationships with other parents in your vicinity is vital, as close bonds translate into a strong community where people look out for each other.
Napa Homes for Sale in Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
Have you narrowed down your neighborhood choices to St. Helena and Calistoga? Here’s an overview of what to expect.
Homes for Sale in Calistoga, CA
For a fantastic blend of rustic and refined, Calistoga is the place to be. Residents here are known for their hospitability and generosity, and the community is one of the safest in California. The town has three public schools that serve preschoolers and those in grades K-12.
We currently have listed two, three, and four-bedroom homes for sale in Calistoga, in a range of price points and would love to schedule a tour for you.
Homes for Sale in St. Helena, CA
St. Helena has a small town feel but also offers all the modern amenities home buyers look for. On the one hand, it’s filled with historic buildings like the 1950s movie theater and century old Napa Valley Olive Oil Company. On the other hand, it’s also home to state-of-the-art facilities that make it the epicenter of the region’s winemaking industry.
With its safe streets, well-kept neighborhoods, and first-rate schools, St. Helena is an ideal choice for any homebuyer, including those raising young families. Homes currently for sale in St. Helena run the gamut from two-bedroom cottages to three and four-bedroom homes and estates.
Find the Perfect Napa Home for Your Family
The “right” neighborhood differs for every family. For some families, it’s about big backyards and lots of neighborhood happenings. For others, it’s about good schools and access to cultural centers. The good news is that the Napa Valley offers nearly everything families are looking for, no matter what that might be.
Whatever your neighborhood needs might be, a qualified Napa real estate agent can help you find the home that’s right for you and your family. If you want to learn more about Napa homes for sale, talk to the professionals at Connie & Jamie about all the real estate services we offer by contacting us online or calling us at (707) 480-5557.