When searching for the perfect place to move, picking the right neighborhood is almost as important as choosing the right city — and many factors go into the decision.
If you have children, the neighborhood must be safe with a good education system.
If you’re a young single, a neighborhood within close walking distance to restaurants and bars might be on your most-needed list.
Whatever the factors may be, choosing the right neighborhood for you is crucial in the moving process, especially if you’re investing in a home.
Before you pick up your life and plant roots in a new neighborhood, check out these tips and tools to help guide you through the decision process.
Determine Your Wants and Needs
Before you can decide where to move, you need to figure out your wants and needs.
Are you looking for a tight community with high social opportunities, or are you looking for more privacy?
Would you prefer an older, quiet community, or do you want to live in a young, lively neighborhood?
If you’re moving with a roommate or partner, discuss their wants and needs as well. What makes you happy might not be what makes them happy.
Discussing what you prefer before venturing into the home-buying or apartment-hunting process can help alleviate any potential frustrations in the future.
Other qualities to consider when thinking about moving to a new neighborhood are whether the community is gated or public, if it has the amenities you want, if there are nearby parks, if it’s in walking distance to stores and restaurants, and if public transportation is available.
Research Crime Rate
Whether living alone, with a roommate, or your family, the crime rate of a neighborhood is an important factor in choosing the right one. Everyone wants a safe place to live. The last thing you want to do is move to a low-priced area only to find that it isn’t safe to be outside at night.
The first step in checking out neighborhood crime rates is searching online. You can do a general Google search or use a specific website like LexisNexis or ADT. Whichever website you choose to browse, make sure it tells you the crime rate, the type of crimes, and when those rates were last updated. Also, check multiple websites to get the most accurate picture.
While on your search, keep in mind that bigger cities tend to have detailed information, while smaller cities give a general overview.
If you have children, consider checking for predators in the area you’re considering moving to. A website like Family Watchdog will give you details about predators across the nation.
If you want to take your search to the next level, get in touch with the local police department for guidance on the safety and crime in the neighborhood.
Crime rates often determine the price of your home as well.
Look for Highly Rated Schools
A high-quality school is important for families or couples who plan to start families soon.
You’ll want to ensure that they have the types of school you want for your children. For example, some families strongly prefer religious schools, private schools, Montessori schools, or special programs at public schools.
You will also want to check that your neighborhood feeds into great schools on every level. If the elementary schools in the area are rated A+ but the high schools are C-, this might change your mind about the neighborhood.
While doing your due diligence and researching, it’s best to visit the schools in person, too. Unfortunately, what you see online might not be the reality in person. Visiting in person will help you get an accurate reading for the schools and the surrounding neighborhood.
Visit at Various Times of the Day
Activity in neighborhoods can change depending on the time of day, so drive through your prospective neighborhood at multiple times of the day, like morning, evening, and late at night.
A neighborhood that seems calm during the day can turn into a different community late at night.
Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Consider the Real Estate Market
Researching the housing market in the neighborhood of your dreams is a step in the moving process that should not be missed.
Once you find a neighborhood you like, see what homes and rentals are going for.
If buying a home in your ideal neighborhood is significantly out of your budget, you’ll need to consider another area or renting instead of buying.
It would be awful to fall in love with a neighborhood and not be able to find an affordable place to live. Before setting your sights too heavily on an area, research the real estate market.
Find Your Dream Community
Remember, before moving to a new neighborhood, determine your wants and needs.
Moving to a new community without investigating the area, school districts, community, or house market may set you up for unpleasant surprises.
Here are additional research tools to help you research neighborhoods:
When you’ve completed your research and found your dream home and neighborhood, it’s time to start the moving process. One of the first steps in preparing for a move is to hire a moving company, and we have a guide sharing tips to help you choose the right moving company.