How to know if a neighborhood is the right fit for you

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February 28, 2012

Prospective buyers have several factors to weigh in when buying a home, and one of the most important characteristics individuals look at is the neighborhood they plan to reside in. There are several more prominent amenities that buyers examine and desire in a community, such as a good school system, affordable taxes and friendly neighbors. But there are also a few lesser-known factors that potential buyers should consider.

Proximity to work, social locations

Finding the perfect home in a quaint neighborhood is every prospective buyer's dream. However, when the location is more an hour away from a buyer's office, university or frequently-visited hot spots, this can wear on a homeowner over time, according to AOL Real Estate. The same is true for proximity to grocery stores, medical centers and shopping plazas. For this reason, it's important for buyers to examine the modes of transportation - commuter rail, bus system, ferry - that are available and whether these options meet their needs. Because staying within a budget is important to many new homeowners, it's also important to factor in the costs of transportation when shopping for a new home.

In addition, buyers may also want to consider their own social lives and whether the neighborhood and its surrounding areas can accommodate them when searching for a home. A young couple who enjoys venturing out frequently may feel constricted living in a neighborhood that is geared toward older generations. In contrast, buyers who are planning on starting a family may not feel as fulfilled living in a community that is primarily made up of young professionals or college students.

Crime rates

Safety is a big concern for any potential home buyer, so look up crime rates and safety features of a neighborhood. Buyers may want to drive through the community both during the day and at night and talk to neighbors about safety concerns or and their experiences in the area. In addition, home buyers can find out about neighborhood watch programs and police presence in the town.

Communities that gain a great amount of tourist attention may also see a lot of weekend or seasonal traffic, so buyers wanting to avoid this type of congestion should weigh this into their decision.