There are lots of factors that go into choosing a new neighborhood. School district, home style, price, walkability, and (of course) location are all important things to consider when you’re deciding. However, some neighborhoods can look great on paper, but still not have the feel you’re looking for. Of course, a good realtor will give you lots of guidance, but if you need some extra help, here are a few sites and tricks that can help.
There is a lot you can find out about a neighborhood on the Internet, so start there! Here are my favorite ways to get an overall picture of a neighborhood.
Great Schools is the first place I look for school information. It rates every public school according to their test scores. Although we all know that test scores don’t tell the whole story, it’s a good jumping off point.
Walk Score rates neighborhoods according to their walkability. If it’s important to you to be able to walk to the grocery store, your kids’ school, a park, etc, you should check out this site.
Facebook Neighborhood Groups can give wonderful insights to the character of a neighborhood. From block parties and garden tours to stolen bikes and missing pets, you’ll get all the dirt on the area!
Google Maps are also a fun way to “stroll” around a neighborhood without having to leave your house. Enter a house address, switch to street view and click around! You’ll be able to wander through the streets and check out how your potential neighbors’ keep their homes and yards.
Visiting the Neighborhood
Once you’ve done all that online research, it’s time to physically visit the neighborhood. Make sure you go at several times a day, including after school and in the evening. Are there kids playing outside after school? Is it noisy at night? Are passersby friendly?
If you’ve got kids and you’re serious about the neighborhood, you may want to trick or treat there this year! There’s no better way to get a feel for the area than to go when literally every family is out and about. Give it a try!