How to Choose Your New Neighborhood

A guest post by James Kim.

Moving is a strenuous task. Not only do you have to deal with the extremely stressful transition into a new life in a new place, but you have to pack your old life into boxes and coordinate a move. Even more stressful, though, is the process of choosing a new house. One of the biggest components to buying the perfect house is choosing the right neighborhood for you — a task that can become complicated and frustrating if, say, you are perusing Austin real estate but know nothing about the city and its layout. No need to worry. There are several tips to keep in mind that can make your task that much easier.

Familial Situation

A huge component to deciding on an area is whether or not you have children. If you do, you want to look for an area that is near to a school. Try visiting a website like Great Schools to examine schools, their locations and ranking. You may also want to look at real estate property near a park, playground, and local pool to make family activities more accessible. Clearly, if you do not have offspring, you will probably want to steer clear of school zones. However, living in suburbia could have its perks — moving into a location near a school can help you sell your house later on down the road.


No one wants to wait hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic every morning to get to work. When investigating different neighborhoods, always snoop around during rush hour traffic in addition to normal business hours to really get a feel for the traffic you will be up against.  Being close to public transportation can alleviate this problem, so also investigate other means of getting to and from work.

You may also want to see what “amenities” are near your neighborhood of choice. How far is the grocery store? Post office? Mall? Downtown area? Gym? While that quaint house tucked in the quietest part of town may be charming, it may be more isolated than pragmatic.


Most importantly, you will want to consider safety. You can check out the crime rates in your prospective area by visiting sites like Family Watchdog. Ask the neighborhood police force or even local business owners if the area is safe. Will you be able to walk home or take a jog around the area at night? You can’t create a home if you don’t trust your neighbors or your area.


Research only goes so far. After researching on the internet, visit the area under consideration. Take a walk around the block, visit the local coffee shop, mingle with the locals, and get a “feel” for the place. To cover all your bases, visit the neighborhoods at all times of day in different circumstances. Chat with a realtor who specializes in the area and ask them how the neighborhood is at night.

While finding a new place and moving can be extremely stressful, you can minimize your headache by keeping these tips in mind. Your efforts will pay off in a home that could last you a lifetime.

James Kim writes for Austin Real Estate service HomeCity combines powerful online Austin MLS search technology and other online tools with personalized real estate services to provide clients with the knowledge they need to make the right buying and selling decisions.