Choosing Good Neighborhoods To Home Hunt In

Tips for shopping for and finding a good neighborhood.

One if the most important considerations for purchasing a new house is the neighborhood. The biggest, most beautiful home in the world will not be a source of comfort to homeowners if it's in a depressed or high crime area. In addition to a family's safety, there's also the property value to consider. The more upscale an area, the better chance there is of getting a good return on the family's investment.

Let's face it, every homeowner dreams of raising a family in a large house on a tree-lined street filled with waving neighbors and kids playing ball. We all would like to live in a place where everyone knows everyone, the doors remain unlocked, and bicycles can be set down in front of the house without fear of being stolen. So how does one find a neighborhood such as this? The answer is easy, research.

Thanks to the Internet, it's now easy to find neighborhood information online, especially through the major real estate websites, making it easy to read up on statistics regarding crime, schools, and demographics. These are all major considerations when neighborhood hunting. For instance, by reading the demographic information, you'll be able to tell the median age and income of your neighbors. You can also learn the average home price, male to female ratio, number of homes owned versus those being rented, and the crime risk.

Since good neighborhoods breed good students, another important area to research is schools. What is the teacher to student ratio? What kinds of awards has the school won throughout the year? What percentage of the budget for the town or city is allocated towards schools? Do you want to send your children to a school employing the use of metal detectors or with a history of violent crime? These are serious issues. Contact the local Board of Education to find out the percentage of students who graduate and go on to college each year and the average student's SAT score. Keep in mind, however, that most blue-ribbon school districts are in areas with high property taxes.

There are other clues to finding a good neighborhood, though these aren't as obvious. For instance, a desirable area won't offer as many homes for sale. In fact, there will be many more families looking to move in. In addition, home remodels will be on the rise as families choose to invest in their property rather than to relocate. You might also find that rather than move out of the neighborhood, residents will buy bigger houses in the same area when their families outgrow smaller homes. City and town halls keep records of planning and zoning information such as this.

If you really want to find a good neighborhood. Talk to those who know it best, the people who reside there! Ask them about crime, schools and property taxes. While you're there, visit the local police department. If you have a specific street or neighborhood in mind, ask if there have been any incidents there in the past few years, and if so, when. Also ask if there is a rise in particular types of crimes. Most law enforcement agencies will be happy to volunteer information to potential home owners.

There are other details important to choosing a good neighborhood. Will you like the commute to your place of employment? If you won't be driving, is public transportation near by? Where are all the supermarkets and shopping centers? Are the libraries and playgrounds convenient? What kind of community organizations are there for adults, as well as for children? Do the medical care professionals have a good reputation?

Details look good on paper, but how does the neighborhood feel? Drive through town, what do you see? Do people maintain and take pride in their properties? Are children playing outside? Take a walk. How does the neighborhood feel? Are the neighbors friendly? Do people seem to get along?

Choosing a neighborhood is an important decision, one that shouldn't be taken lightly. Make a list of the characteristics important to you and do your research. A beautiful house means nothing if you don't enjoy the area in which you live.

© High Speed Ventures 2011