If you’re on the hunt for a home or apartment in a new area, knowing how to scout your new neighborhood both before you commit and after you move in is important. You’ll want to look at everything from crime reports in the area to which schools any children you do or will have might attend. It’s important to research your new neighborhood to find out what your new stage in life is going to look like.
This can be tough to accomplish with showings alone, especially if you’re making a long-distance move. Fortunately, a number of online resources cover just this type of information.
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1. Google Street View
Want to get a street view of the town you’re moving to? Google Street View features close-ups of various towns all over the world. Go on a virtual walk before you move to the area so that you recognize familiar landmarks when you’re actually there. Discover various landmarks you’ll want to visit as well as use for navigation.
2. My Local Crime
Are you set on a specific home or apartment, but uncertain of the area and how safe it is? My Local Crime allows you to plug in any address in any city and pull up crime reports for the area. The tool enables you to see if the home is in a high crime area and avoid any dangerous areas, particularly in big cities where things can look fine on one street and not be fine on the next one.
3. Rent Near Transit
Do you want a rental that’s located near public transportation? Rent Near Transit allows you to see how close a new place is to subways and trains. Some of the transit systems included in the search functions are Bay Area BART, Chicago “L,” Boston “T,” Philadelphia SEPTA, New York Subway system and Washington, D.C. Metro. At the same time, look at rental prices so that you can find the ideal mix of convenience and affordability.
4. Great Schools
If you already have children or are thinking about having children, understanding the area schools is a vital step to take to research your new neighborhood. Great Schools rates schools on a number of factors. They’re rated out of 10 points in areas like test scores, help for students with disabilities and environment.
In addition, other parents go to the site and add their more in-depth reviews and thoughts, so you can spot any problem areas or positives through the eyes of another parent.
5. Walk Score
Are you looking for a place to live where you can walk to work, restaurants and entertainment venues? Walk Score offers a score based on how close the neighborhood is to various locations.
The site also offers a bike score option, in case you prefer to ride your bike at times. You can certainly save a lot of money by not owning a car or paying for upkeep, insurance and fuel. Knowing how often you might be able to walk instead of drive is good knowledge as you make a decision about where to live.
6. Neighborhood Scout
Thinking long-term? If you want an idea about whether or not a home is a good investment, you’ll be excited to know that Neighborhood Scout offers a snapshot of other comparable homes in the area as well as details about whether you should invest in the property. They also provide trends and forecasts about how the property value might rise or fall in the future. This is great for finding accurate information about a home’s worth – especially if you’re looking at an unclear listing.
How to Research Your New Neighborhood
Finding the perfect neighborhood for you isn’t a simple process. Combine all of these tools for a well-rounded picture of what an entire area is like. Although your priorities may shift over time, using these tools gives you a complete picture of the investment right from the get-go.