Nowadays, we're seeing larger cities—like Los Angeles, Calif., and Washington, D.C.—take a backseat to smaller up-and-comers, such as Omaha, Neb., and Dallas, Texas.
But no matter which city renters are looking at, everyone wants a neighborhood within their financial means that is safe and friendly. Here are some of the top things renters look for when moving to a new neighborhood:
Location, Location, Location
A neighborhood that is centrally located is on the top of most renters' lists. At the end of the day, people want to live in an area that's walking distance from a local market or downtown area. It makes it easier to run down to the local grocers after a hard day's work for some odds and ends.
Walkability is one of the most desirable aspects of a new neighborhood. Centrally-located neighborhoods earn some brownie points when they also have smooth, paved sidewalks so renters can quickly get to downtown.
Also, we must factor in easy access to transportation, be it a bus stop, train station or bike path. With the average commute time rising from roughly 21 to 26 minutes, renters want to save all the precious time they have.
Urban Living Minus the High Costs
Urban areas are notorious for their high cost of living. Now that most millennials are in the early stages of their careers and some have started families, you can bet several are pulled towards the urban life; however, affordability may be getting in the way.
In which case, more affordable, uptown neighborhoods that are starting to urbanize are a draw. Unlike already-established (and high-end), big-name cities (e.g., New York City), these neighborhoods aren't nearly as expensive, but still have that urban vibe. For renters wanting a cheaper rent and that downtown feel, it's the best of both worlds.
Safety Is Always a Priority
It's safe to say (no pun intended) that safety is at the top of most renters' lists. Low crime rates are a huge plus to renters who don't want to worry about who's around when getting something from the car.
Renters want a neighborhood that passes the walk/run test—they want to feel safe running around the block in the morning, afternoon or night. Areas that can provide this are hot-ticket housing in the real estate industry. (To check neighborhood safety, renters can use online resources such as Trulia.)
Good Local Schools
Another top neighborhood feature on many renters' lists are good local schools with high graduation rates. It goes without saying that environment is one key factor that plays into human development. Renters want to know that their child's school (not to mention the surrounding area) is a positive influence. As with safety, you can search a neighborhood's school ratings on many real estate sites.
It Feels Like Home
Renters want to be able to step into that apartment, condo or house and instantly get that "home" feeling, and a neighborhood definitely plays into that. It could be a neighborhood that has a distinct look, such as streets lined with jacaranda trees, or it could be an area filled with vintage homes.
Yes, the small details—such as gated community living or a waterfront view—will change depending on the renter, but the big-picture takeaways are more or less the same: a neighborhood that is in sync with the renter's lifestyle.
At the end of the day, if a renter can imagine happily living in that neighborhood for the next several years (if not longer), that rental property may be a keeper. Do you agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below!
Ashley Lipman is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.