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How to Evaluate a New Neighbourhood 

The old adage in real estate is — and always will be – location, location, location. So, how do you determine which neighborhood you want to live in? 

Everyone has a unique image of their neighborhood. Define that image so that your time will be spent on just picking the house. Here are a few of the most commonly researched neighborhood traits:
  • School district – Education is important. Home is home, but it’s also an investment. A school district’s performance impacts housing prices, regardless of whether you have children. Besides, the bulk of your property taxes goes to maintaining schools.
  • Commute – The average travel time to work in the United States is 25.4 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. What is your ideal commute? Worse-case commute? Would you consider public transportation? If so, is there a mode of transportation, like rail, nearby?
  • Shopping and restaurants – Don’t limit this to just malls with brand names or national restaurant chains. Are there convenience stores? Walkable downtown areas with night life?
  • Parks and recreation – Are there places to go running or cycling? Dog parks (your pets need to socialize as well)? Rock-climbing gym? You can’t sit in front of your TV or play games on your smartphone all day.
  • Mature, tree-lined sidewalks or newer developments with or without associations? – Mature neighborhoods probably won’t change, except for the rare razing and constructing of a new home on the lot. On the flip side, are there more developments scheduled to be built soon, which might affect roads, nature, schools and traffic?
  • Crime – Safety is important. Call the local police department.
Walk It!

You can’t experience an area without physically visiting it and getting a "feel" for it. There may be sections of the neighborhood that you would prefer over others. When you are visiting a potential neighbourhood, park your car and walk. Do this at different points of the day, on different days. If you can, strke up a conversation with a resident and ask them what they like/ dislike about the neighbourhood. 

Once you decide on a few neighbourhoods that you like, contact your Realtor and ask them to start looking for homes in the are. 
Original Author By: Deidre Woollard
Edited By: Melissa Winter