Whether you are looking to rent or buy, location is one of the most important factors when finding a place to live.  Remember you can change the space itself to fit your needs but you cannot change its surroundings.  It is necessary to investigate the area you plan to live in. NextGen Realty suggests taking a look at:

Is the location a good fit for you?

You need to make sure that you find an environment that is a good fit for you, your friends, your pets, and your belongings.  Check the local police department’s website, which provides a list of criminal activity.  Many sites have tools that allow you to narrow your search down to less than a one mile area of your potential dwelling.  If you are local, make it a point to visit the neighborhood both during the day and at night.  Pay attention to nearby businesses and the type of cliental they attract, the lighting in the area, and the amount of activity.

How Are the Local Universities?

Even if you are not planning to enroll in higher education in the near future, local area schools can be telling of the neighborhood environment.  Universities often offer various local amenities and activities that can give you a more well-rounded appreciation for your neighborhood.  If you enjoy lots of activities and services, it could be a good idea to look into what is being provided in each area.  Investigate what types of extracurricular activities are offered by the community and the district, such as artistic programming and athletic leagues.  This information is easily accessible through the department of education’s website or other real estate resource databases.

Community Activities

Choosing an area that offers opportunities for involvement will help you build lasting connections.  This is especially important if you are moving to a new area where you do not know many people.  Some examples of these activities are community sponsored athletic leagues, town meetings, auxiliary services, block parties, inclusive groups, and bingo nights.  Research has shown that areas that foster community involvement enable caring between neighbors.  Having a good relationship with those around you creates a happy environment for you and those that you care about.

Consider Your Commute

When deciding between locations, calculate the time it will take you to get from work to home.  Keep in mind your proximity to public transportation, major roads, and highways.  Also consider the availability of alternative paths in case of construction or an accident.  Remember that a long commute is additional time away from your family, friends, and favorite activities.  It also has a substantial financial impact, so while you are searching for your new home think about toll costs and gas prices.

Availability of Goods and Services

Make sure that your desired location is in close proximity to basic necessities like a gas station, bank, grocery store, and post office.  Everyday errands are challenging enough without having to commute a long way to get them done.  Also, consider how far your location is from your favorite pastimes.  Think about what you like to do on a weekly basis and make sure there is the potential for those activities in your new area.  Having fun nearby is essential for loving your new home.