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Finding the Right Neighborhood

It is common knowledge that real estate values correlate to location. By the same token, location, also known as neighborhood, plays an important role in quality of life. Factors such as commute times, crime rate, public transportation, restaurants and schools, can significantly impact one's day to day experience, as well the economic outcome of selling a home.

Back to School

Whether you are already a parent of school-age children or are planning to have children one day, making sure your new home is located near a high quality school is of the utmost importance. Real estate agents are well aware of this and should be prepared to provide all the pertinent information you need to know on this subject.

You should also do your own research through the U.S. Department of Education website - http://www.nces.ed.gov, which compiles data, statistics and ratings on schools throughout the country. Another useful resource is www.greatschools.net, which provides useful information about schools in your neighborhood.

Safety First

We all want to feel secure in our home. We want to know that our friends and family can walk around the neighborhood freely and safely. It is important to familiarize yourself with the key indicators of a safe neighborhood.

Higher home values, income levels, and police presence are only a few of the factors that can help understand whether a neighborhood is safe or not. The ratio of homeowners to renters may also provide helpful insight, as owners tend to be more invested in the safety of the neighborhood, as well as its appearance. A larger population of renters also tends to be accompanied with increased crime rate.

There are also neighborhood safety and crime related resources that are worth checking. The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics is a good starting point - www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs. Local newspapers, community blogs, police blotters, watch groups and email listservs may also have relevant and up-to-date information.

Making the Right Decision

When buying a home, finding the right neighborhood is crucial, yet it can be a difficult process. Fortunately, many resources are at your fingertips if you know where to look. Make sure to take advantage of all those resources, whether online or offline. Just as important, if not more, than gathering data, is experiencing the neighborhood personally. Walk around the neighborhood at different times of day, speak with residents, eat at the local restaurants, talk to a local REALTORŪ, and envision yourself living there. It may seem like a daunting challenge, but you will know when you've found the right neighborhood for you and your family.


 

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