Choosing a community to raise your family is probably one of the most difficult decisions you can make. But with a good amount of research, you can do your best to choose an area that you and your family will love for years to come. Here are some tips to help.
Check Out School Ratings
Probably the best indicator of the quality of a neighborhood is the ratings of nearby schools. The website GreatSchools.org is an excellent tool when trying to identify the nicer parts of town. They use recent standardized test scores to compare schools to each other, so you can see which ones are the higher performers. Type in the name of your general area/metropolis, and use the map tool to see where the best rated schools are located. Once you have selected a school, the website will show you the school's attendance boundaries to make house hunting even easier.
Look up Crime Ratings
Use local municipal crime websites, like sheriff department websites, or NeighborhoodScout.com to look up what crimes are being committed in the area you're considering. All areas are going to have crimes, so don't panic when you see a lot of incidents. The important thing to look at is the type of crime being committed. Are the calls mostly neighborhood vandalism by a minor, or armed robbery? As you compare the crime incidents of different areas you'll be able to tell which areas have the more serious crimes that you want to keep your family away from.
Find out Nearby Amenities
It's not enough to simply avoid the crime-filled areas. When choosing a new area for your family, you want to make sure there are a lot of fun things to do nearby. Check out the local community center and see what types of sports and activity classes are offered for kids. Look at county and city websites and locate the public parks and swimming pools. Look for nearby amenities for the adults too, like gyms, restaurants, and grocery stores.
Look at All Your Housing Options
If you're not yet ready to buy a home, consider renting until you know the surrounding area better. Find a property management company you can trust, like Infinity Properties, and find a housing community that fits your needs.
Although you'll never be able to get everything on your wish list, using these tools will help guide you in the right direction towards the best possible community for you and your family.