How to Find the Right Neighborhood

Once you have decided to move, you will first determine the city where you want to live, and from there, narrow it down to the specific area or neighborhood within the city best suited for you and your family.  Whether you are just moving from one county to the next one over or you are moving all the way across country, there are a variety of factors that can help you determine your final destination.  The list below can help you make this very important decision, so that you will be satisfied wherever you end up.

Schools

This is a crucial component if you have school-aged children.  You will want to make sure that they are able to enroll in a decent school upon arrival.  Start by checking status on a ratings website like Great Schools.  After finding what seems like a good match, set up a meeting or video conference with the school’s principal.  Be prepared with a list of questions you’ll want to have answered.  If possible, arrange to tour the facility as well.  Be sure to include your child if he/she is old enough to offer insight.  Finally, look into after school programs or team sport opportunities if these options are important to you.

Transportation

It is important to determine what your transportation options will be in your new neighborhood.  While you may find it necessary to have a car in a rural or suburban area, you will not find it necessary if relocating to a city like San Francisco or New York.  In fact, having a car may actually be more of a hassle, because you will be tasked with finding a semi-permanent parking spot which can be expensive and inconvenient.  If you don’t intend to own a car, be sure that public transportation is abundant, safe, and easy to use.

Amenities

Research the location extensively to determine if it has certain features you require.  For example, if you have young children, you will probably want to have a park or recreation facility in close proximity.  If you like to shop, make sure there a mall nearby.  Finally, scope out the local necessities, such as a laundromat if you won’t have a washer and dryer onsite, a grocery store for food shopping, and a bank for financial transactions.

Proximity

If you already have a job lined up, seek out a neighborhood nearby, so you don’t have to deal with commuting.  If you do find that it is better to live a considerable distance from your work, try to find out traffic patterns, and see if you can avoid the busiest times and routes to cut down on drive time.

Meet the Neighbors

If you are afforded the opportunity to actually visit your potential new home prior to making the move, be sure and do so.  Visit during the day and at night, so you can get a feel for the neighborhood at all hours of the day.  Introduce yourself to the people that live there and ask them about their likes and dislikes regarding the area.  A lot can be garnered from those who already call the neighborhood home.

Although these suggestions are a good jumping off point, it is essential that you ask yourself what is important to you in a new neighborhood.  Everyone has different qualifications and personal opinions when it comes to relocating, so there is no one-size-fits-all standard approach.  Be sensitive to the needs of you and your family before making a decision and you should be able to find the perfect place to call home.

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