Shopping for a new home requires more than finding the perfect house. You’ll also need to dig into what the neighborhood has to offer. The joy of finding the perfect house can quickly be dampened if you’re dealing with less-than-savory aspects of the general area.

  • Start with the school zones. Use sites like GreatSchools to read about the factors that go into ranking a school, as well as how nicely the school in your zone meet your expectations. You’ll also be able read parent and student reviews to see how the general public feels about the school. Remember to view these reviews with a grain of salt. Sometimes, reviewers can forget every great thing that a school has done in light of one bad incident. Look for reviews that speak of overarching themes or tendencies, such as extracurricular offerings and college acceptance rates.
  • Take a look around. Does the neighborhood seem well-kept? Often, your gut feeling about where you’re living is correct. If you don’t feel elated about the cleanliness and maintenance, you may find yourself in a neighborhood that doesn’t take great care in assuring they have a nice place to live.
  • How’s the commute? It’s often better to find yourself within close walking or driving distances of stores and markets. It can get old very quickly knowing that you have to fight against traffic congestion just to pick up dinner for your family.