When it comes to your new home, the location matters. It’s easy to get caught up in the interior details of your future home but but when it comes to finding the right place to live, what’s located outside your door matters as well. After all, you can change nearly anything about a house, except its location. 

Your home doesn’t exist in a bubble. The neighborhood you’re in, the cost of living there, the sense of community, and of course, your commute time are all important considerations that will impact your enjoyment of your new place.

With this in mind, here are some tips to help you find the best neighborhood for your new home. 

READ: How to Find a Family-Friendly Neighborhood for Your new Home

Think about what you want in a neighborhood.

First and foremost, start your neighborhood search by considering what you would like in a community. What are your needs? What would make life better and more enjoyable for you? Do you want to be within walking distance of shops and restaurants or do you prefer to be removed and surrounded by a lot of land? Are you looking for a strong sense of community? How easily accessible are the things you’ll regularly need? Is there a nearby pharmacy, grocery store, and other local amenities? What about access to parks, playground, nature, etc.? 

Consider your commute.

How far are you from work? Are you willing to drive or take public transport? Be sure to check the route from the neighborhood to your office via Google Maps. How easy is it to get to the bus or train station? Prefer to walk? Check out your area’s walkability with WalkScore.com.

Research local schools.

Local schools and their ratings are a good resource whether or not you have kids of your own. Proximity to reputable schools can boost a property’s value over time. Check out our Home Value Reports to get a sense of how schools are rated. 

Take note of the local vibe.

“Vibe” is, of course, subjective, but there are certain things that can be good indicators of the general tone of a neighborhood. Lots of restaurants, bars, and venues that stay open late? Probably the home of a vibrant nighttime scene. Close to well-maintained parks, libraries, rec centers, and schools? There’s a good chance the area is family-friendly and home to a lot of kids. There’s a lot to consider here, but know that you’ll have an easier time settling in and making connections with your new neighbors if you find the vibe that fits your personality and needs. 

Check out reviews from locals.

No one knows an area better than the locals who already live there. To see what your potential new neighbors think of an area, scroll through sources like Trulia Neighborhoods and StreetAdvisor. You may also want to check out Airbnb to see if there’s a local guide for your area.

Assess the cost of living.

Property taxes vary depending on your location—be sure to factor in taxes and other costs, such as utilities, household maintenance, healthcare, and transportation, as well as any potential homeowners’ association (HOA) fees. 

Visit in person.

Whenever possible, visit the area in person. Take a drive or walk around and note what it’s like. Go out to eat in nearby restaurants or take a walk through the park. See how you feel when interacting with people there. You’ll soon have a good idea about the overall feel of the community, and will know whether it’s the right neighborhood for you. Ideally, you’ll want to visit at different times: during the day, after work, and on the weekend to get a good feel for what the place is like.

Location matters. Your specific neighborhood, even more. After all, your community will be a big part of your life and impact your enjoyment of your new home, so make sure you find the right neighborhood. One that’s ideal for you and your family. The kind of place you’ll look forward to returning to at the end of each day.

Find your dream neighborhood for your new home. Get started today.

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