Tips for Finding the Perfect Neighborhood

Your neighborhood has a big impact on your lifestyle. Follow these steps to find
the perfect community to call home.

Is it 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.

Check out the school district. 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. Also, check out

Find out if the neighborhood is safe. 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?

Determine if the neighborhood is economically stable. 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?

Make personal observations. 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.

Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.