How to Find the Right Neighborhood For You

9895490You’ll never like your house if you don’t like your neighborhood. The question then becomes, how do you choose the right one? In order to do this, you’ve got take some action and do some serious thinking. Here are some things to consider:

Do you have children or are you planning to have children anytime soon? Parents know that the first thing to do when looking at a neighborhood is to research the school system. Even if you’re single, living in an area with a much sought-after school system raises your property value. If you have kids, you’ll also want to live close to parks and community centers.

What type of home do you want? Are you interested in a single-family home or an apartment, townhouse? Read more about the different types of homes. How far are you willing to commute? Do you plan to drive, walk or take mass transit to work? Do you have a car or would you be willing to get one? 4f5c020d86739cf1e8003178cfc4f9a3

Do you want to be in a historic neighborhood or a new development? Historic neighborhoods have tons of character, but often require lots of repair work and are governed by community associations with strict standards. Newer developments have more modern features, but are typically far from the city center. Read more about the different types of architecture styles.

What is your current community lacking? If you’re currently landlocked, but have always wanted to live on the waterfront, put that at the top of your list. If you’re a coffee junkie, having a Starbucks down the street may be a dream come true.

Do you want to be able to go places on foot? Would you like to be within walking distance of shops, restaurants and bars? Or would you be willing to drive to nearby businesses?

Think about what you don’t want in a neighborhood, too. If you can’t stand late-night noise, you’ll probably want to steer clear of the college area or an area with a lively bar scene.

pretty_neighborhood_jessica_curtain-resized-600.jpgSafety & Schools

With your area of the city in mind, start digging up information. Find interesting neighborhoods online, ask local real estate agents for recommendations and compile all the background information you can, including:

School information: Look into the local public and private elementary, junior and high schools, as well as daycare programs.

Crime statistics: Most real estate sites have statistics that tell you how the zip code’s crime rates measure up to the national average. If you want specifics, call the local police station.


Once you’ve done the background research, visit neighborhoods that made the preliminary grade in person. There’s no better way to paint a real picture of life in the neighborhood. Use your senses to get a complete picture of the prospective community.

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  1. Definitely be sure to decide where you want your child to go to school before buying a house. You need to think past elementary school, because many areas have different schools for different grades. We didn’t think about this. We found a great school for our six year old, and didn’t think about what it would be like in middle school. The closest “good” school was 45 minutes away. We ended up selling the house, it was too much to commute with our jobs and school.

    1. Great point, Amy. People often don’t consider where their children will attend middle or high school when they are still little. However, most people purchase a home planning to stay in it forever, and if that’s the case, you need to think ahead in terms of your child’s education.

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