How to find the right neighborhood

Finding the right house starts with finding the right neighborhood. After all, location is everything. However, evaluating a neighborhood can be tough, particularly if you’re moving to an unfamiliar area. Here are a few tips to help you in your search.

Consider everything

When you’re just starting out, don’t eliminate anything right away. A neighborhood you heard one bad rumor about, or that you’ve only ever buzzed past, may actually be a delightful place to live. Look at all your options with fresh eyes, so that you can make a truly unbiased decision.

Remember what’s important

Just as with home buying, choosing a neighborhood comes down to what you can and can’t live without. Research local schools, average house prices and planned developments. Consider things like traffic noise, proximity of shops and parks, and how close you need to be to work. As you think about all these criteria and more, make a list of your must-haves. If you’re on the fence about a location, use your list to help you decide.

Ask around

Once you’ve found some neighborhoods you like, it’s time for a visit. Try going for a walk in the area, eating at a local restaurant and talking to local business owners as well as potential neighbors. You may even want to rent for a while to really get a feel for things.

In-person visits are the best way to observe things like safety, cleanliness and friendliness. So make sure you take a good look around to be sure it’s the right location for you.

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