The Importance of Finding the Right Neighborhood

Buying a home is a life-changing decision that takes time, patience, and lots of research. But finding the right neighborhood to call home matters just as much—if not more.

You’ve probably heard that buying a home is only half of the process and that the location is a major deciding factor when searching for where you want to live. This rings true for many homebuyers because you can always make changes to a home, but you can’t change a neighborhood.

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Find the Right Neighborhood

When you start looking for a new home, some people begin with a general idea of what they want in a home. But it’s probably a better idea to start looking at what you want in a neighborhood first.

Do you want to be close to your job or near family or friends? Do you want to live in an urban or suburban environment? Do you want to have access to family-friendly amenities? Do you want easy access to public transit or major freeways? Once you determine what’s important to you in a neighborhood, you’ll be able to explore all of your other dream home options and narrow them down within specific neighborhood boundaries.

George Kolar, a regional sales manager for Neighborhoods.com, and his wife spent more than eight months searching for their dream home for their family.

"We saw hundreds of homes online and more homes than I would like to admit in person. After searching for eight months, we ended up buying a home in Oswego because we realized the neighborhood we live in is much more important than just the home we select."

Ultimately, Kolar knew the right neighborhood for him and his family would have to include family-friendly amenities like a community pool and welcoming residents. "We have lived in our new home in our current neighborhood for two years and we have built closer friendships than we ever thought possible. We could not be happier and it's all because we focused on the neighborhood, not just the home," he said.

But navigating through dozens of neighborhoods can be tricky and challenging, especially if you aren’t familiar with the area. Luckily, Neighborhoods.com puts the neighborhood at the center of your home search. On our site, you’ll get in-depth information on thousands of neighborhoods in dozens of the most sought-after metropolitan areas across the country.

You’ll be able to search and compare cities as well as neighborhoods, get detailed neighborhood profiles, view property listings, read resident reviews, and evaluate school information. With all of these resources at your fingertips, Neighborhoods.com will guide you along your homebuying journey and help you find the perfect neighborhood that fits your lifestyle.

Neighborhood Amenities and Perks

Once you’ve found the location of your potential neighborhood and home, you’ll want to find out about the neighborhood’s amenities and perks.

Ask yourself what’s important for you to have within driving or walking distance. Are there coffee shops and restaurants nearby? Do you want to be within walking distance of grocery stores, bars, or retail shops? Is there a local park where you can take your kids to play? Are there any bike trails close by so you can enjoy your daily bike rides in the morning? If there’s a specific amenity you just can’t live without, then this is something to consider when searching for your new neighborhood. 

Researching a neighborhood’s amenities is easy on Neighborhoods.com. You can filter through these amenities with the Local Info by Yelp tool on our easy-to-use maps. You’ll be able to see things like parks, restaurants, stores, nightlife, and recreation options color-coded and marked on the map. You can also view what’s located inside the neighborhood or just outside of its borders. This will give you a realistic view of what’s available in your community. 

Schools

If schools are important to you and your family, you’ll probably want to live in a neighborhood that has top-rated schools in the area. Each neighborhood page on Neighborhoods.com lists schools within that area with corresponding ratings from GreatSchools.org. You can also see parent ratings, total school enrollment, and grade levels.

“We plan to move to the southwest suburbs because of the good public schools in the district,” said Bianca Sanchez, current resident of the East Side neighborhood in Chicago. She plans to move her family to Evergreen Park next year. “I love knowing that my daughter will get the best education that’s close to our new home and not have to worry about sending her to a different school that’s farther away.” 

Neighborhood Vibe

What matters to you in a neighborhood might be different for someone else because it all depends on personal preferences and lifestyles. You may want to live in a family-friendly community or in a trendy area with plenty of nightlife and entertainment options. Either way, finding the neighborhood that fits your lifestyle and personality can vary, so it’s best to do as much research as possible. 

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what a neighborhood is really like from just reading an online description, but on Neighborhoods.com, you can view photo galleries to help you gain a better understanding of what the community has to offer. Do you see tree-lined streets and single-family homes with spacious backyards, or condo buildings lined along busy streets filled with bars and restaurants?

You can also read reviews from former or current residents to gain useful insight about the neighborhood atmosphere. Is it noisy or quiet? Does the neighborhood have a close-knit feel? Does it host social events and activities? Are residents active within the community? Reading through honest reviews as well as what locals love and don’t love about a neighborhood will give you a better understanding of the overall environment. 

Another great way to get a sense of the neighborhood vibe is by asking friends and family or talking to your real estate agent. People who have lived in the neighborhood are local experts that can provide you with valuable insider information and tips you can’t get anywhere else.

“After talking with some of my friends who grew up in Bridgeport, I knew moving here was the best option for me when I started my family,” said Yolanda Munoz, who has been living in Bridgeport for the past six years. 

“The accessibility to great parks, kid-friendly restaurants, and caring neighbors has really given us the family vibe we were seeking when purchasing our first family home in Bridgeport.”

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