Tips for Finding the Perfect Neighborhood

Moving to a new area can be daunting. Follow these tips to find the perfect neighborhood before deciding on a property.

Neighborhood and Close By Amenities & Activities

  • Make a list of all the amenities that you would like to find in or near your perfect neighborhood.
  • Keep in mind what distance and routes are acceptable.
  • Is the home and neighborhood close to your favorite spots?
  • Make a list of the activities — movies, health club, church, etc. — you engage in regularly and stores you visit frequently. See how far you would have to travel from each neighborhood you’re considering to engage in your most common activities
  • What is the distance to the nearest store, gas station, restaurant?
  • What is the market value of the neighborhood?
  • Are there community events or organizations?
  • How close is your child’s school? Is the home in the school district you prefer?

Check out the schools

This is especially important if you have children, but it also can affect resale value. The Department of Education in your town can probably provide information on test scores, class size, percentage of students who attend college, and special enrichment programs. If you have school-age children, visit schools in the neighborhoods you’re considering.

Check out the safety of the neighborhood

Ask the police department for neighborhood crime statistics. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type — such as burglaries or armed robberies — and the trend of increasing or decreasing crime. Also, is crime centered in only one part of the neighborhood, such as near a retail area?

Is this neighborhood economically safe?

Check with your local city economic development office to see if income and property values in the neighborhood are stable or rising. What is the percentage of homes to apartments? Apartments don’t necessarily diminish value, but do mean a more transient population. Do you see vacant businesses or homes that have been for sale for months?

Will you make money?

Ask a local REALTOR® or call the local REALTOR® association to get information about price appreciation in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, this information may give you a sense of how good of an investment your home will be. A REALTOR® or the government planning agency also may be able to tell you about planned developments or other changes in the neighborhood — like a new school or highway — that might affect value.

Once you’ve narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go there and walk around. Are homes tidy and well maintained? Are streets quiet? How does it feel? Pick a warm day if you can and chat with people working or playing outside.

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