Important Amenities

When you first think about moving, you never really expect that one of the first things you'll miss, are the things you took for granted when you lives in your old home.

For instance, my old roommate used to love eating regular pasta, nothing special just tomato sauce and noodles and such. The thing was we lived in a Korean neighborhood, and he had several Korean spices that he used to augment the pasta.

He ended up moving to another city where there was no Korean community to speak of. He was dying for these spices and he just didn't know where to find them in the city. He checked the phone book, he used the Internet, he even randomly called Korean homes (he said any one with the last name Kim is a good bet) pretended to have the wrong number, then probe them for information on Korean cooking.

Eventually he just sent me $200 and I bought several cases of each spice and shipped them to him.

You may be wondering why I just told you that long convoluted story. Well, it's to demonstrate a simple point. We need our amenities.

The following is a list of amenities that you should make sure is available in any new community you are thinking about moving to. You should also be sure to consider how accessible these amenities are, and if they are affordable. While not all of us would consider ourselves picky, there is at least one amenity out there that we cannot live without.

Grocery Stores:

If we are what we eat then you'd better be sure that there is a good place to buy the food that you like, where your moving. Don't make the same mistake that my old roommate did, and move to a cultural wasteland, if you like kimchi. If you like specialty food and organic food, you'll need to scout the area for these things. You should also take into account how convenient these stores are. Are you really going to feel like going across town for some coriander? The grocery store also has to be affordable. This means something different to everyone. But when you calculate that you'll be buying pretty much all of your food there, this could get fairly costly over five, ten twenty years.

Golf Clubs Many Americans like playing golf, and finding a golf club that is suited to you can be essential. Many new upscale communities in the southwest and east coast have their own private golf courses. These are usually free, and are included in the cost of the home. Golf Clubs can be a great way to meet your neighbors and form a community around physical activities. If you potential community does not have a golf course make sure there is a course you can play on in the vicinity. Try and locate sponsors for the more private clubs, and check out the green fees and traffic of the more public courses.

Parking If you have ever lived in New York City you know one undisputable fact: there is nowhere to park in Manhattan-nowhere. This can turn into something more than just an inconvenience. It can cost you lots of money, lots of time, and even your safety. If you are a single woman make sure that the parking you find is close and not isolated. While we would like to think that we are safe, there are people out there who want to do harm, and we must err on the side of caution. Also, parking on the street is acceptable, but in the winter is can be a hassle trying to dig your car out of the snow. Parking on the street can also be a bit of a pain, as city by-laws often require you to move the automobile on certain days of the week. This is for the purpose of snow removal and cleaning, and the authorities will have no qualms about towing your ride if it gets in their way.

Laundry If cleanliness is next to godliness then you should live next to a Laundromat. This is of course if you do not have a washer and dryer in your home (which most do these days). Check to see if the Laundromat has a quarter dispensing machine and also, one that sells detergent. Many new apartment buildings and Condos have their own private Laundromat that will call up to your room when you laundry is done. This (besides being adorably futuristic) can also save you time. Time you could be using to watch Soccer, or as the Europeans call it, Football. Crazy.

Schools While maybe not an amenity in the strict sense of the word, a convenient place for your children to go to school one less thing that you have to worry about, and really, don't we already have enough to worry about? Schools can also provide a recreational haven during the summer and in the evenings. Most schools have large fields for soccer and football, as ell as basketball courts and tennis courts. All for free. Well not totally for free, w do all pay taxes.

Parks This is the one thing that people always reference when they talk about amenities. Parks can grant you a lush lacuna to walk pets, have a BBQ or just hang out in the sun and relax. Larger parks also have zoo's and large ponds for sailing. As publicly funded spaces you'd be a fool not to enjoy them. You did after all pay for them. Just look at a map when you are researching a new neighborhood and you'll see where some parks are. If you are single, parks can also be a great place to meet people. Most people are more relaxed in a park, often more relaxed than in a singles bar. If you are just looking on a map for a park, be sure that you actually go and check that park out in person, and maybe try and talk to some people who live near it. While parks can attract families and lover, they also attract some more sinister elements. At night parks can be an conspicuous place to do drugs and rob people. Therefore the park would have the opposite affect on your neighborhood. So, whether dodgy or delightful, a park can radically change the value of your home.

Movie Theater We all like going to the movies, so look around and see if there is one around. Also, make sure it plays the movies you want to see. Don't go to Cineplex if you are looking for Aboriginal silent films. Most cities have at least one alternative theatre, it just may be hard to find.

Gas Stations Unless you are taking the bus or train to work everyday, a gas station is one of the most crucial and often overlooked neighborhood amenities. It would be ridiculous if you had to drive four miles just to get gas. It is also risky, seeing as if you are low on gas in the first place you might to have enough in the tank to make it to the gas station. How ironic.

Convenience Stores It's four in the morning and you NEED guacamole Doritos. We've all been there, no need to feel ashamed. You need now is a variety store you can walk to, that's open 24/7. Many suburbs don't have convenience stores, so you should be wary. Also, it can be dangerous to get in your car if you are still half asleep.

Hospitals With transportation as good as it is, and with hospital cut backs being what they are, the chances of you living near a hospital are slim, and the benefit negligible. You may think this is crucial but if you are lucky you probably only go to the hospital once every couple years. Also, if you are truly, sick, it's not like you'll be walking to the hospital anyway. It's the kind of amenity that often gets referenced in a home listing, but has very little actual value. Really, the only immediate value is that hospitals are quiet zones, so you will not have large trucks blasting down your street.

Shopping Shopping is great, and it's a great way to kill time. Near shopping also looks great on a real estate listing. So if you are a clotheshorse, or you just like browsing. Get a handle on what kind of conspicuous consumption you can find in your neighborhood.

Bars and Clubs Whether you are going out for a drink with your coworkers, or you are drowning your sorrows in a pint of Rolling Rock a bar or club within walking distance (or stumbling distance) is essential. It also means that you may have more company; as people drop buy to congregate before a night of revelry or stagger back for some fun fueled after-party action.