Here a few things I recommend considering when determining what neighborhood is the best fit for you.
Even if you don’t have kids, the quality of the schools in a given neighborhood should be high on your priority list. That’s because property values are higher in communities with strong school districts, meaning that your home will appreciate more. In addition, you will be able to sell your home quicker when it comes time if you are in a desirable school district! That said, you may have to settle for less house due to higher prices.
Independent of school quality, you should look at local trends in home prices to get insight into that community’s future. If property values have been in steady decline for a decade, you’ll likely face issues when it comes to reselling down the line. Instead, look for up and coming neighborhoods where home prices are climbing. Your Realtor will be a wealth of information when it comes to property values, and should have knowledge of specific communities.
Statistics show that the average homeowner lives in a home for at least 5 years, but up to 8, before making another move. As a buyer, do your due diligence and travel the community on various days, various times of day. Also ask your Realtor for any insight as to upcoming street widening projects that may affect the current traffic situation.
Don’t rely on looks alone when evaluating the safety and security of a neighborhood. Information on local crime rates (and most common types of crime) are commonly available from your local police department and the FBI website. Googling "local crime maps" gives you many other options too!
Vacant land near a home you're considering purchasing? Your Realtor should have the knowledge to share with you what's potential future plans are for that land.
Bottom line, USE YOUR REALTOR. We are a wealth of information and resources, and are happy to go the extra mile to help you feel comfortable with your decision!
Happy House Hunting!