Neighborhood Search: Finding and Getting to Know Your New Home

Moving is a life-changing process and now-a-days people have to not only find the perfect home to suit their needs but it needs to be in the right ‘spot.’ So as a potential buyer you have to hit the dirt and do the time in looking around and visiting listings. I know when I purchased my first home; I saw 13 houses in one day and thanks to my Realtor, I was able to find one to buy. But, when I got home that night, even with the photos I had taken of each, they began to blur together. 

With modern technology, some of the tedium of this whole process may soon be alleviated. . .
Sites like Relocity are building up their technology by matches 12 key neighborhood characteristics to a potential buyer in order to help them weed out the location that will just not work for their personality. The site combs social media just as marketing firms do in order to pick your preferences out. 

“It’s that virtual knock on the door, going beyond the four walls of a home into what it’s like in the context of that neighborhood and what it’s like to live there,” said Diane Szoke, founder of Relocality. “It’s the first product to answer that question: Where will I fit in?” - See more at:

The site is still working out its kinks but I encourage everyone to try it out just to see. I do not suggest this replaces personally viewing homes, but it may get a buyer started in the right direction so that when their Realtor asks them for their preferences, the answers will me more informed and the overall process more streamlined. For me, looking back at those 13 homes I saw may have been narrowed down to a much more timely and feasible number had I had a resource such as this. 

Like I said though, nothing will ever beat the leg work of getting out there. Here is a quick checklist you can read and print out to bring with you as you explore a potential neighborhood for you and/or your family.
  • School district – Education is important. Home is home, but it’s also an investment. A school district’s performance impacts housing prices, regardless of whether you have children. Besides, the bulk of your property taxes goes to maintaining schools.
  • Commute – The average travel time to work in the United States is 25.4 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. What is your ideal commute? Worse-case commute? Would you consider public transportation? If so, is there a mode of transportation, like rail, nearby?
  • Shopping and restaurants – Don’t limit this to just malls with brand names or national restaurant chains. Are there convenience stores? Walkable downtown areas with night life?
  • Parks and recreation – Are there places to go running or cycling? Dog parks (your pets need to socialize as well)? Rock-climbing gym? You can’t sit in front of your TV or play games on your smartphone all day.
  • Mature, tree-lined sidewalks or newer developments with or without associations? – Mature neighborhoods probably won’t change, except for the rare razing and constructing of a new home on the lot. On the flip side, are there more developments scheduled to be built soon, which might affect roads, nature, schools and traffic?
  • Crime – Safety is important. Call the local police department.


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