Ways to Ensure That You Pick the Best Neighborhood for You and Your Kids

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(Newswire.net — April 9, 2020) — When moving to a new area, most people think more about the house than they do about the neighborhood. The neighborhood is as important as the house and there are a few things to consider so that you end up living in the best neighborhood for you and your kids.

Ask the Right Questions

When looking for the right neighborhood, it is important to ask yourself what you are looking for. Some of the questions to think about include:

  • How would you define your ideal neighborhood?
  • Are trees and parks important to you?
  • Do you like a neighborhood where people are close, or do you love your anonymity?
  • Are there restaurants, malls, shopping centers or other amenities nearby?
  • Are all the amenities you need within walking distance?

While thinking about all these things, it is important to consider the needs of other members of your family. For example, your kids might not want to walk to school so that should be another consideration. 

Look at the Crime Rates

No one wants to live in an area with high crime. Using a search engine, it is very simple to find out about the crime rates of the neighborhoods you are considering. Remember that:

  • Larger cities have detailed crime rate information
  • Smaller cities and towns may only have general information

You cannot find everything out online. Ask around the neighborhood to see if there is anything you should be concerned about. 

Even if you find out the neighborhood has low crime rates, there is still more local government can do to make it even better for you. Click here to learn more.

Take a Tour of the Neighborhood

If you want to get a feel of a neighborhood, apart from talking to the people who live there, a good idea would be to take a tour of the area. Try to look out for:

  • Signs of crime deterrence like bars on windows
  • Graffiti and broken windows, both of which can be signs that the neighborhood has a vandalism issue

In addition to keeping an eye out for the things mentioned above, you could also visit the neighborhood at different times of the day. This will allow you to get a sense of how the neighborhood works. During your visits, try to look at:

  • The condition of the streets themselves
  • The front yards
  • Signs of a drainage system that works or not
  • If people make eye contact. If they do, the neighborhood is likely a very friendly one.
  • If there are empty or commercial buildings in the area, that could affect the growth of the area as well as the property values down the line

Check the Transportation Options

If you commute to work, it is important to live in an area that has a good transportation system. Before moving, try to get to the neighborhood during peak hours to see how long a typical commute would take. Also, consider the following:

  • Is public transportation available?
  • Would public transportation work for you and your kids?
  • How reliable is the public transportation?

Check the Schools

If you want to know how well the neighborhood is maintained, take a look at their schools. This is especially important if you have kids. A well-kept school means that your kids will have good education there.

Also, try to find out:

  • How large the classes are
  • The state of their teaching staff
  • Graduation rates to college or high school
  • How students perform on standardized tests
  • How your kids will get to school. Is there transportation? Is it safe to walk?


If you decided in your assessment of what matters to you that amenities are important, check to see if your needs can be met by the available amenities. 

  • How close are they?
  • Are they easily accessible?
  • Will it be noisy or crowded during the weekends?

Apart from social amenities, you could consider looking at libraries, art centers, places of worship or other areas of interest to you. 

Find Information About Local Services

There are a lot of variations in how different cities respond to reported issues. Try to get information on how the following groups of people respond:

  • The police
  • Firefighters
  • First responders and emergency medical teams

All of these service providers should be at your door in very little time once you report an emergency. If you do not hear good things about their response times, it is time to find a new neighborhood.

Look at the Hospitals

Even though we hope and pray that none of our loved ones get sick, they inevitably will. When deciding on a neighborhood, it is important to check the local hospitals to see:

  • What services they provide
  • How they handle emergencies
  • If they have the right drugs
  • What types of insurance they take

If the hospital does not have the capacity or ability to deal with a diverse range of conditions and illnesses, you should reconsider the neighborhood.

Future Development

Future developments can drastically change the face of a neighborhood. Try to see if there are any planned major developments in the area. A new development could:

  • Make the neighborhood noisier
  • Make it dirtier
  • Affect the value of your property
  • Cause overcrowding at social places or schools
  • Strain local services

Apart from new buildings, commercial property can also change the face of a neighborhood so be aware of those too.

Ask About Property Prices

This is a big one as it should be a major consideration when choosing the right neighborhood. Ask the real estate agent:

  • If the value of the property has increased or decreased compared to a few years ago
  • If the neighborhood has changed and if yes, how
  • Any future developments

Since real estate agents might give you the answers you want to hear as they would like to sell you the property, be sure to knock on a few doors and ask your potential new neighbors these questions.

Find Out About Property Taxes

Different towns and cities indeed have different property taxes. Ask your real estate agent what these taxes could be to get a better sense of how much it will cost you to acquire the property. Also, ask them about any potential increase in property tax and an estimate on how much you will pay over the next five or ten years.

Consider Other Costs of Living

Even if you get a good property at the best location, you still have to consider how much it will cost you to live there over time. Some of these costs include:

  • Transportation costs
  • Healthcare costs
  • Food prices
  • Utility costs
  • Fuel
  • Other costs of living

Also, be sure to check if there are any other costs of living like local income taxes, homeowner fees and maintenance of common areas. Do not be surprised, too, that the cost of insurance and healthcare can vary widely between neighborhoods. Be sure to do your research so that no surprises come up once you move in.

Rent Before You Buy

Moving to a neighborhood that you do not know is a big deal. That is why it is always a good idea to rent there before buying. This is so that you can have a better picture of the neighborhood as you live there. You might also get to know your neighbors and be in a better place to calculate the cost of living in that area if you are already living in it. 

Renting before buying will also give you a chance to assess how happy the rest of your family is with the move and if the community and area are the right fit. 

Renting also gives you much more time to inspect and assess a house before buying it. This will help you make a better buying decision and ensure that you do not end up with a home you will not like in a few months.

Check the Topology and the Surrounding Areas

The topology of an area can affect:

  • The price of the property
  • The living experience

If you choose a house that has a view, you are going to pay a lot more than if you bought a house without one. Also, some landscapes have problems when it rains or snows. The land outside might flood, or it might be harder to get snow out of your driveways.

Some areas are also more prone to natural disasters such as wildfires, torrential rainfall or even storms. 

In general:

  • Avoid areas that have steep slopes. These might cause accessibility issues and there is always the risk of mudslides in these areas
  • Areas that have burn scars or that do not have vegetation. These indicate that the area could be susceptible to wildfires. 
  • Visit when the weather is not the best to see if it would be easy to navigate the area should there be extreme weather.


Selecting the best neighborhood for you and your family can be challenging. That is why it is important to take some time to think it through and to visit the area to get a better sense of where your family will be living.