Finding the ideal neighborhood is as thrilling and overwhelming as searching for the perfect mate.  Hoping for a permanent home base, you must identify what’s important to you, if it’s feasible and what’s available.  Listening to friends and family helps but could lead you astray because not everyone needs or wants the same things.  Discover what factors you must consider when figuring out how to move to the ideal neighborhood.

What You Want

When searching for the perfect neighborhood, create a list of what you want and what you don’t.  Start by thinking about what you like and don’t like about your current home.  In weighing pros and cons, decide what’s worth fighting for and what you can live without.  A hot tub would be nice, but is it realistic?

That’s What People Say

Realtors can tell you what communities are like but discuss them with friends, family, and anyone else who will give opinions and share inside dirt, especially if they know the area.  Once you narrow down your search, knock on homeowners’ doors in communities you favor for the lowdown.  Accept opinions at face value before ruling anything out.

Just Your Style

What’s fun about moving somewhere new is exploring and discovering how you fit into the community, so decide beforehand what characteristics work with your personality and lifestyle.  Do you like peace and quiet or loud and lively? Rural, suburban, urban? Do you want points of interest like stores within driving or walking distance?  Assess how much maintenance your new home requires and what things you cannot tolerate like planes flying overhead or noisy motorcycles revving at 4 am.  Remember that you may need to compromise on some items and reject others.

Geographically Affordable

The not-so-fun part is paying for the wonderful assets you discover.  Check your finances to see if you can afford the home and expenses like taxes, utilities, furniture, moving services, etc.  Will it be a wise investment or a money pit?

Community Services

What level of community service is offered depends on what you need.  Regular garbage pick-ups and an active police presence may be a given, but how far away are they?  Ensure you hire a moving company, too, that covers both areas and finds available storage nearby.

What’s Your Commute?

Evaluating your work commute is important.  Spending too much time on the road detracts from enjoying your neighborhood and takes a toll on your car, so check for readily available public transportation.

Things to Do

Having enough community activities makes it friendlier.  Visiting local parks shows what towns are like, because if conditions are dirty, in disrepair, and populated with unsavory characters instead of reputable citizens that raises red flags.

Crime Doesn’t Pay

Failing to check crime stats on your prospective neighborhood is a lesson you shouldn’t learn the hard way.  If your movers appear wary when dropping off your stuff, your neighborhood may be the problem.  Patrol it at various times during the day to capture the essence of daily living.  If the neighborhood is souring, you’ll spot indicators like multiple foreclosures, abandoned buildings and For Sale signs posted.  However, change is always on the horizon, so it’s possible that a doomed neighborhood may become a dream in the future.