Good public transportation, low crime, schools, nearby hospitals and other factors can help home shoppers decide if a neighborhood is right for them.
If you’re planning on moving to a city that’s far away from where you live now, then finding a neighborhood that’s a good fit can be more difficult than driving around a nearby city.
Here are some ways to research a neighborhood even if you’re miles away:
Ask for Help
If you have a specific city you want to move to, ask a real estate agent there to give you a market overview and for help finding a neighborhood that matches your needs.
You may not be able to check off everything on your wish list, but focusing on your top priorities can help narrow the choices. If you think you may have children in the next few years, then look for a good school district. A site such as GreatSchools.org can help.
If you want to avoid a long commute to work in a new city, look for neighborhoods within 30 miles of your office.
Call the police department for crime rates by neighborhood in the city you’re buying in.
Go online and read the local newspapers to see what’s happening. Look for stories on construction, planned restaurants and stores, what areas are growing, and where most crimes are.
Look for online forums about the city you want to move to, and for certain neighborhoods. Some may be on Facebook—ask friends on Facebook if they know anyone who lives there who can help you.
An online map can be a good resource. After ranking your priorities, look for some of them on a map to see if the majority of them are near homes you can afford: hospitals, subway stops, parks and other outdoor activities, and police and fire stations.
Foursquare and Yelp can not only help you find nightlife and restaurants, but also have information from locals on neighborhoods.
City Data has forums and information on specific neighborhoods, including cost of living, home prices, crime, climate and local attractions, among many other data points.
After doing all of this online research and getting the help of a real estate agent, your next step is to visit the neighborhoods you’re interested in. You can do this virtually through Google Maps, or take the bigger step of buying a plane ticket or taking a road trip and visiting them in person.
I hope you found this helpful. Contact me for more home and real estate insights and info.