The first step in finding your new home or apartment is selecting the neighborhood that best fits your needs and lifestyle. Doing your homework when finding a new area to live is one of the most important steps you can take in your home search.
Amenities & Attractions
Check out what the area has to offer in terms of shopping, healthcare, entertainment, parks, and more? Visit the area grocery stores, restaurants, and shopping centers to see how the stores fit into your lifestyle. If you’re a fitness buff, see if the community and surrounding area offer gyms, parks, and other services you like. Outdoorsy folks can look into are recreation, lakes, rivers, hiking trails, and more. Be sure to check out dining, nightlife, and other social activities in the area, too.
A few great local & national resources for scoping out your new neighborhood are:
Check Your Commute
Especially if you’re moving for a new job, be sure to drive the route to and from your desired community to work during your commute times before making a final decision on your home. See how traffic influences your commute during various times of the day.
If you walk or bike to work, check to see if your route has safe sidewalks, paths, or bike lanes.
Crime Rates & Safety
Crime statistics & reports are available online using services like Neighborhood Scout or on local government and police department websites. It’s wise to research area crime statistics before moving into a neighborhood. Keep in mind, crime has no address, and some crime happens in all communities. Some resources for determining crime rates are:
Talk to the Residents
When scouting out your new neighborhood, chat with area residents to see how they like living in the community. Most will be happy to offer an honest opinion and provide advice on living in the area. If researching from afar, search for local Facebook groups in that neighborhood or city so you can find honest answers about life in your desired neighborhood.
Check into Schools
Whether you have children who will be attending school, you’re taking some classes, or you’re interested in some career-advancing skills, checking into area schools is always a good idea. Your realtor or property manager will be able to provide the community’s assigned public schools and you can find out more about them at greatschools.org. You may be interested in visiting area private schools, colleges, or vocational schools as well.
Take it to the Streets
The best way to really find out what a neighborhood is like to spend some time walking around, shopping, and visiting it in person. Spend a half day or a day in your desired areas to make sure they truly have what you need.
Do you have other tips you'd like to share? Join the conversation with us here in the comments or on our social pages!