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How To Research a Neighborhood

Purchasing your dream home is a large and often life-long investment. Part of the house-hunting process is also finding the right neighborhood for you and your family.

Although you have minimal control over this aspect, doing proper research and vetting the place helps a lot. Not fitting into the neighborhood, despite loving your new home, may trigger a case of buyer’s remorse.

Here are several ways you can thoroughly research a neighborhood:

Check Out the Neighborhood Online

The internet is full of resources you can use to check out different aspects of your potential neighborhood. You can find out details such as the area’s walkability score, prices of nearby real estate, crime rates, tax data, things to do, and more.

Here are our recommended online websites and tools to aid your research:

Crime Rates: 

Websites: AreaVibes.com, CrimeMapping.com, and FamilyWatchdog.us

Worrying about possible criminal activity in the neighborhood is normal — especially if you have kids. Area Vibes and Crime Mapping are two of the many websites that offer insight into crime statistics and neighborhood safety.

Meanwhile, Family Watchdog allows you to search your neighborhood for possible registered sex offenders.

Tax Rates: 

Websites: RetirementLiving.com

Knowing the income, sales, and property tax rates of your new home will help in budgeting your monthly payments for the house. Knowing the property tax rates also gives you an idea of the funding the neighborhood’s schools and parks receive.

Real Estate Analytics: 

Websites: NeighborhoodScout.com

Property value trends and other real estate market details are important considerations when house-hunting. Knowledge of how the area’s housing market behaves, particularly whether it is on an upward or downward trend, helps you make smarter investment decisions.

School Information: 

Websites: SchoolDigger.com

Calling the local school district or visiting their official website are the best ways to get information about the area’s educational performance. School Digger also has an interactive map that lets you filter schools near your desired neighborhood and view the top-performing school districts per state.

Walkability: 

Websites: WalkScore.com

Walkability refers to how walk-friendly an area is — this considers factors such as footpaths, bike paths, nearby amenities like parks, and more. Walk Score is a great place to start learning about a new neighborhood. The website also offers insight into the nearest restaurants and cafes, crime rates, and different commute options.

Neighborhood Info: 

Websites: Nextdoor App

The people currently living in the neighborhood you’re researching might be your best source of information. They can provide more concrete information about minute details, like general noise levels, local businesses, political leanings, and the overall vibe of the community.

Visit the Neighborhood

While the internet provides a wealth of essential information, you shouldn’t discount the merits of checking out the neighborhood yourself. We recommend visiting the place on multiple occasions.

Visit at different times of the day and days of the week, too. This helps you compare the neighborhood’s noise level, street activity, parking availability, and more on weekdays and weekends.

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