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Need help finding the right neighborhood for your home search? Here are five factors that should figure prominently in your thinking.
Even if you don't have kids, the quality of the schools in a given neighborhood should be high on your priority list. That's because property values are higher in communities with strong school districts, meaning that your home will appreciate more. That said, you may have to settle for less house due to higher prices.
Independent of school quality, you should look at local trends in home prices to get insight into that community's future. If property values have been in steady decline for a decade, you'll likely face issues when it comes to reselling down the line. Instead, look for up-and-coming neighborhoods where home prices are climbing.
Remember: if you're buying a home, chances are you plan on living there for a long time. Heavy traffic may not seem like a big deal now, but in five years you (and your wallet) may feel differently. Congestion can also have health and safety implications with respect to air pollution and car accidents.
Emergency and Medical Services
In the event that something bad happens, you want to be sure that emergency responders can reach you quickly. It's one thing to be close to a hospital, and quite another to be close to a good hospital. If possible, concentrate on areas in proximity to university hospitals, which tend to have more modern equipment and resources.
Don't rely on looks alone when evaluating the safety and security of a neighborhood. Information on local crime rates (and most common types of crime) are commonly available from your local police department and the FBI website, and real estate sites like Zillow aggregate data from several sources to provide their own reporting.