Comparing Neighborhoods: Schools, Traffic, Taxes And Other Concerns

Issues and concerns when comparing neighborhoods, such as schools, taxes, traffic, and availability of services

Shopping for a new house or apartment can be fun and exhilarating, or extremely tiresome, as all the properties start to resemble one another after you have looked at several dozen. When this occurs, other important aspects of home hunting, which should be priorities, are oftentimes ignored; the neighborhoods themselves, and other items of issue when choosing a place to live, such as traffic issues, schools, taxes, and other properties that are adjacent or nearby. In addition, in these modern times, some issues that in the recent past, never even existed, such as accessibility to high-speed internet.

A real estate agent can help you on some of these issues, others will be affected by personal preference, and others still, will need to be investigated by you, the shopper, yourself.

Tax Issues

A real estate agent will answer tax questions, in part, but knowing if there are any pending tax milleages, or other ongoing issues, such as a new development nearby that may change the tax base, need examining. What the previous owners paid in taxes is a major part of the overall tax picture, but bear in mind, it is not the complete tax picture.


Sometimes, traffic can be an obvious concern when house shopping. The property may be located on a busy street or near a known busy intersection. However, sometimes, the traffic issues at hand are not so obvious. The time of day that you visit a property may give a false sense of quietness, when in reality other times of the day the traffic is both heavy and loud. Inquire of the real estate agent if traffic is busy at certain times, and, before committing to a property, visit the property at different times of the day. Car and truck traffic are not always the only forms of traffic that need consideration either, nearby train tracks, flight paths of airports, and bus traffic all need consideration.


Where are they, how many, any private schools nearby, what types of transportation are offered, what, if any, special subjects do they offer, what grades do they encompass"¦The list of questions of inquiry into the schools that service the locale you are interested in, should be as specific as can be. If possible, visit schools that your children would attend if you were to choose a particular property. If you, as an adult, are considering going back to school or college, are there any colleges or adult education centers located within a convenient distance. Are there any residency rules required for attendance, and would you qualify if you chose a certain residence over another.

Availability of Services

High-speed internet is a convenience that many of us take for granted, yet it is not available everywhere. Many rural and urban locales do not offer any type of internet service, or if they do, it is commonly dial up.

Cable is another service that many take for granted, yet also, is not always available. Satellite service can usually fill the gaps, but even satellite does not work everywhere, or is not an option for different reasons.

Cellular phones are one more convenience of the times, and a growing portion of the population choose to use their cellular service as their main type of telephone, often because they can move, and they do not ever have to change their telephone number. Check that your current cellular service will work in the new home, and if not, will it be that big of an issue to change providers.

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