Finding the Right Neighborhood: 3 Things to Look For

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When buying a new home, the house itself is only part of the purchase. The surrounding area is just as important and there are many factors to consider when choosing not only the property but the neighborhood. However, it can be very difficult to evaluate a neighborhood you don’t already live in. How can you learn whether a neighborhood is right for you? There are many things to look for, but here are 3 of the most important things:


Looking at an area’s crime statistics won’t tell you everything. It’s still a good idea to check on, but there are other ways to get a sense of how safe you’ll feel in a specific neighborhood. Some things you can look for:

  • Are there “neighborhood watch” signs or similar evidence of organized security?

  • Is there proper street lighting at night?

  • Are the home exteriors generally well-kept?

  • Are there lots of other properties for sale or rent?

These are all good questions to guide you when scouting out possible new homes. It’s ideal to visit at different times of day and weekends to get a sense of the activity level, noise and other things that could affect your comfort level. When in doubt: go with your gut. If you have a bad feeling about a place for any reason, you shouldn’t ignore it.


If you have children or are planning to have children in the future, the quality and choice of schools in the area is something important to look for. Research the nearby school districts to see where your choice of home would fall among the options. Many online sources allow you to access and compare statistics like dropout rates and test scores for chosen districts, as well as “score” schools based on other factors like parental (and even student) reviews. Regardless of whether you have children, knowing how local schools compare can help get a bigger picture of the neighborhood.


Don’t forget your life outside of your house. The type of lifestyle you want to live or want to avoid should be top of mind when evaluating a potential neighborhood. Are there community organizations or specific activities you want to live nearby? Are you specifically trying to find a place that’s quieter or a place where there is always something going on? Do you need a place to walk your dog? All of this should factor in to your choice. Look for the proximity of local businesses and activities and calendars or advertisements for local events. It helps to make a “wish list” of things you would prefer in a neighborhood as well as to identify any potential deal-breakers. Being clear about what you do and don’t want will help guide your research.

These are just a few of the things to look for when learning about a potential new neighborhood. Make use of all the resources available and don’t underestimate the effectiveness of simply visiting yourself. Your life and comfort level in your new home doesn’t end at your property line.

What to Consider When Choosing a Place to Live

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Finding a new home is challenging on its own, even when you are familiar with the area. If you’re wanting to move or start a new life somewhere completely different, it’s hard to know where to start. If you don’t have a specific place in mind, focusing on your priorities and budget can help you narrow down your choices. Here are the top 5 things to consider when looking for a new place to live:


For some people, weather can have an enormous impact on quality of life. Whether it’s personal preference or physical comfort, the climate should be a major consideration in choosing a new place to live. It’s easy to find temperature averages and other statistics like amount of rainfall or snow online. Check the weather reports regularly to get a sense of how the temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to research the general region to find out about any potentially extreme weather common to the area, such as hurricanes or tornadoes.


Size, both in population and geographic area, is an important metric to be aware of in searching for a place to live. Population density can clue you in to things like traffic, job opportunities and available housing. The geographic size of a place can help you determine what sort of commutes or everyday travel times you can expect. Some people prefer small and quiet towns while others prefer the hustle and bustle of big cities. While every city and town is different, considering the relative sizes of your options can still give you valuable information.


Infrastructure is a wide category that includes things like schools, public transportation, hospitals and other emergency services. If you have children or plan to have children, it’s crucial to research the schools in the area. Beyond that you can also look at the proximity and availability of emergency services and healthcare facilities. Public transportation is a huge draw for people who wish to avoid driving or want to help the environment, but it’s not always as accessible or reliable as it can appear at face value. Find train or bus schedules and route maps to get a better idea of the public transportation in a prospective new home.

Cost of Living

The cost of a home itself is only the beginning of your financial life in a new location. First, make sure you know about the property taxes in an area. You can also look at mortgage rates and rent prices nearby. Groceries, entertainment, utilities, gas and other transportation costs will all factor into your overall cost of living. There are many online resources to help you research and compare certain places and you can always consult the area’s local government for details about taxes and other municipal expenses.

These are some of the most important things to consider when looking for a new place to live, but there are many other questions you should ask yourself before you move. Take other factors into account like culture, lifestyle, local economy and politics as well as safety. Finding what is most important to you is the best way to begin your search.