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Where would you like to live? To answer this question, take a few minutes and write down your answers to the questions below:

  • Where do you work?
  • Do you drive to work?
  • Do you need public transportation?
  • How much time are you willing to spend going to and from work?

Get a map, find where you work and look at the neighborhoods you are considering and determine the amount of time you are willing to commute. If you need public transportation, get a bus schedule or a rail map of the local systems to see which neighborhoods they service. For example: If you can spend an hour traveling each way to work and you need public transportation, look to areas one hourís ride from your work. If you can spend an hour driving each way to work, look at neighborhoods that you can drive to in an hour. Donít waste time searching for a house in areas that you cannot reach or that are too far away from your job site.

Evaluating Neighborhoods

The location of the home is important from both a buying and a future selling standpoint. Usually a potential homebuyer will sacrifice features in a home to live in a more desirable neighborhood. This conveniences and amenities available are critical in evaluating neighborhoods. Some people want to be near their place of employment, churches, or shopping. Schools, parks, and recreation may be more important for some people. For others, the need to be near public transportation or have easy access to freeways and interstates may be a top priority. There are several things that almost everyone looks for in a neighborhood:

  • Adequate police and fire protection
  • Reasonable real estate taxes
  • Well-maintained appearance

In addition, to finding a neighborhood that is right for you, there are some things you might want to check into more thoroughly such as schools, safety and the costs. Some suggestions for you to consider:


  • Call the neighborhood school and ask if you can visit.
  • Talk to friends and co-workers about the schools in the area and ask about the after-school programs.


  • Visit the neighborhoods you are considering in the day and night time.
  • Look for signs of illegal activities, especially at night.
  • Look for things that may indicate a high crime area, such as bars on doors and windows, security alarm signs, private or community security patrols.
  • Visit the local police station and find out the crime statistics for that area.

Taxes and Hazard Insurance Costs

  • Call the tax assessorís office or ask a real estate agent how much are the property taxes for that area.
  • Call an insurance agent and find out the average cost of hazard and car insurance premiums for that neighborhood.


  • The "zone" the property lies within determines the allowed use.
  • Typical zone choices include Residential (personal houses), Commercial (businesses) and Industrial (factories). In some areas the zoning allows multiple uses.
  • Do you object to having businesses around you or do you find it convenient? Do you plan to open a business yourself?
  • Know both what you want to do with the property and what the zoning allows.

The Neighborhood Check Sheet is to help you decide whatís important to you. However, you should consider the things that may not be important to you, because they may be important to the value of your property if you decide to sell. Before you start, it might be a good idea to make copies of this check sheet so that you can use them while you are house-hunting. You should use it to rate what is least or most important about the neighborhoods you are viewing. For example, if the church of your preference is in the neighborhood, you may rate it as a 3.


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Table of Contents | Homebuyer Course Start Page | Find A Realtor | Budgeting To Buy a Home | Neighborhoods | Find Your First House | Inspect Before You Buy | Shop For a Mortgage Loan | Mortgage Home Loan Process | Credit Score and Credit Report | Home Mortgage Loan Closing | Being a Home Owner

© 2007 Financial Firebird Corporation
Edited and suplimented by Mory Brenner, Esq. For more information read our terms of use and privacy policy.