Why are neighborhoods important? There are many reasons. Municipalities often try and plan or create neighborhoods but more often than not, neighborhoods are generated by the normal, everyday actions of people. Neighborhoods play an important integral role in forming community and social interaction. Defining a neighborhood can help create the quality of life style you desire.

When you start to think about buying a new home, you should evaluate neighborhoods before you start looking at specific houses. Everybody’s needs and tastes are different. Property details that are important to one person searching for a home might not be pertinent for another. Regardless of particular tastes there are important general factors to consider before you buy, such as: researching area schools, comparing property values, observing traffic flow, checking out crime rates, and taking notice of neighborhood repair and/or development.

First, research schools and see where they stand in relationship to others in the area. This decision can be crucial for the social and educational development of your children. Even if you do not have children and do not plan on having any, it is always beneficial to live in an area where the educational system is of a higher standard. Excellent schools often denote a community that cares, and living in a community like that can’t be too bad.

Usually there is a correlation between the quality of schools and property values. What are the property values in the area you are looking at? How do they compare with other surrounding areas? Your Realtor will be able to give you a market analysis and comparison of properties in the neighborhoods of interest.

There is the consideration of traffic. Even if you are looking for a home in a busy city, some streets are thoroughfares and others are quieter pockets. Some people prefer to be in convenient downtown locations, regardless of traffic noise. Proximity to schools, shops, hospitals, public transportation, beaches, parks and cultural activity is always important. However there are often accommodating areas that can provide both convenience and serenity. In general, we believe most people would enjoy living in a quiet location with little distraction. Whether you are one who likes the hustle and bustle or one who would rather just tune out, it is an important to consider the traffic in the area you like before you make any decisions.

Of course checking the crime rate in an area is imperative. Persistent, ongoing crime problems are always a sign of a less desirable neighborhood. To keep abreast, take note of articles in local news papers regarding acts of crime in an area. There are web sites that indicate where police activities have accrued. You can also ask your local Realtor about their opinions.

Take a look around, are homes being remodeled or rebuilt in the neighborhood, or do things look in a state of disrepair and decay? If you notice a high rate of new development, it could be a good sign. Look for neighborhoods that are likely to become highly sought after in the coming years. These communities are often contiguous to already desirable locations. Ask your Realtor how long properties stay on the market, in hot areas the market moves quickly. Consider perhaps a lesser house or a condominium in a more desirable neighborhood. This way you still may be able to purchase in a prime neighborhood that you could not otherwise be able to afford.