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Where to Research:
1) The Internet: This is definitely the easiest way to learn more about a new location. Websites like Wikipedia offer great insights into the history and description of an area. Neighborhoodscout.com is also a great resource. A simple Google search and Google News search will always reveal information, just be aware of the source.
2) Visit the area: By going to the neighborhood and surrounding areas in person, you will be able to truly get a sense of what you’re in for. It might also be a good idea to speak with the locals and hear their thoughts on the location.
3) Find an appraiser: It might be a good idea to find someone to assess the home appreciation and get an estimate of the overall value of the home and area. Real estate agents should be able to do this as well.
What to Research:
1) Safety First! Look out for crime rates in your new neighborhood and in the surrounding areas. Crimereports.com is a great website for this, they also have a mobile app that will send you alerts when new reports are available.
2) Noise and traffic. Look for any major roads, airports or railroad tracks that might be nearby. It might also be a good idea to visit the home during different times of the day, especially rush hour. This way, you will gain a better understanding of the noise levels but also how congested the surrounding roads can become.
3) Schools. If you have children, it is essential that you understand the quality of education in a prospective neighborhood. Schools will also help keep the demand of your property high. A good website to take a look at is greatschools.net.
4) Public services. When you visit the area, pay attention to the quality of roads and parks. Are they clean and well kept? What is the public transportation like and where are the nearest police and fire stations? It might make sense to keep an eye out for the nearest library, grocery store and shopping mall as well.
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