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Family Moving? How to Find a Great and Thriving Neighborhood for Your Loved Ones

There are all sorts of reasons why you might have to move one day. You might get a promotion that requires you to relocate to another city. Maybe you’ll get married and decide to start a new life somewhere else. Whatever the reason, you’ll want to find a safe, comfortable and affordable part of town to live in. Here are some tips on finding the best neighborhood for your family.

List Your Priorities

Begin by preparing a list of lifestyle features that are most important to you and your family. Categorize them into wants and needs, then into sub-categories like schools, safety, recreation, transportation and amenities. This will give you with a clearer picture of what you’re looking for, so you can narrow down your search. Are you looking for a home in a quiet rural community, far from noise and traffic? Or would you rather be close to malls and other conveniences associated with big city life?

Research Local Crime Rates

Use the Internet to get information on crime statistics in the neighborhoods you’re considering. Depending on how big the city is, you should be able to get some helpful information this way. Larger cities are likely to have more detailed crime reports, while small towns may provide only general information. You can also contact the local police department for additional details. They will know if there are any crime prevention programs in the area.

Tour the Area

If you live close enough, spend some time driving around the area. Look for signs of vandalism, gang activity and graffiti. Are the homes all protected with bars, high fences or “Beware of dog” signs? This is usually a sign that people are not at ease in the area. Do the people seem friendly? If they’re reluctant to make eye contact with you, it may not be the safest place to live. Look for abandoned buildings and note the conditions of houses, yards, streets and sidewalks.

Research the Local Schools

Communities such as Hunt Midwest can provide useful information on schools, districts and how they rate in terms of performance. High-performing districts have lower dropout rates and produce above average test scores. Keep in mind that school districts also vary in size. If the one in the area you’re looking at isn’t the most impressive, you may find that moving just a couple miles down the road could provide you with access to a better one.

Look up Property Tax Rates

The cost of living in a given area can vary significantly, with property taxes often playing a major role. They’re a major source of revenue for many cities and counties, often exceeding local sales and income taxes. You’ll have to view these in context with other features you’re looking for, since higher taxes often equate with safer streets and improved municipal services, such as fire, police and street maintenance.

Research Transportation Options

If your job is the reason you’re moving, you might consider restricting your search to areas that provide an optimal balance between affordability and convenience. This might mean seeking out neighborhoods near major highways that can quickly get you to and from your job. Keep in mind that even if your car is your primary mode of transportation, it’s wise to consider the possibility that you might need access to public transportation at some point.

Moving can be both exciting and stressful, at the same time. Meeting new friends in different surroundings can lead to life-changing opportunities. However, it also means leaving old friends and memories behind. The best way to make it work is to find a community that meets your family’s needs with as little stress as possible.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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