Home Buying Tips: Choose the right neighborhood

Posted by Gale Bray on Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 at 4:38am.

Suburban Neighborhood

When most people picture their dream home, they imagine what the house would look like. But in many cases it is the neighborhood that makes or breaks the home. The ideal house that is too far from work, in the wrong school district, in a high crime area or with other problems is just a nice house in a bad place. To avoid finding that great house in the wrong place, it is often best to choose the right neighborhood(s) before even looking at specific homes. Here are some considerations that a potential home buyer can use to determine which neighborhood is the right one to meet his or her specific needs.

Solicit Advice

One way to quickly find neighborhoods to consider or to avoid is to ask people living in the area for recommendations. If the home buyer is new to an area this can be difficult but often people can find friends, family or co-workers with knowledge of an area. Driving in the area during the evening will also give you a good indication of whether that’s an area you want to call ‘Home!’There are many websites that provide information on cities and neighborhoods that can help a home buyer to quickly learn about areas. Reading recent issues of a local paper is another good way to gather information on a new city.


A home buyer should consider the distance between a potential neighborhood and important locations such as a workplace. Also, consider where friends and relatives live as well as where favorite shopping and recreational areas are in comparison to a potential neighborhood. Remember don’t just look at the mileage between a neighborhood and a destination; look at the time needed to travel that distance. Ten miles of driving on a congested city street can take an hour, but ten miles on a freeway may only take minutes. Ideally a home buyer should make practice trips from the neighborhood to various destinations during high traffic periods to determine how long it will take to complete the trip.


Whether anyone likes it or not, price is always a consideration. One way to quickly eliminate neighborhoods from contention is to look at the selling price of homes in the area. If all of the homes are way above your price range there is no need to spend the time looking into the neighborhood any further. However, keep these neighborhoods in mind as these pricey neighborhoods often have great schools, shopping and parks, so living in an adjacent neighborhood may be desirable.

Community Services

Once a home buyer has started to identify areas of interest, the home buyer should check out that neighborhood’s parks, library, schools and other public services. Even if the home buyer does not plan on using any of these services, strong community services are a sign of a thriving area which will help to bolster property values. Schools and other services are also very important selling points for future buyers when it comes time to sell the home.

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