How To Test-Drive Your New Neighborhood

Dated: November 5 2020

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Real Estate 11/5
(Melissa Rolland/Special to Courant Community)

The internet has made viewing houses, whether across town, or across the country, accessible right from the comfort of your kitchen table.

How would one check out the neighborhood of a home you are interested in, though, when travel restrictions or sheltering in place may be getting in the way of visiting as freely as you may like?

Below are resources that can help in test driving neighborhoods when a “simple” drive through the neighborhood is challenging.

Neighborhood publications and local social media pages or groups are a great place to start for would-be residents to learn more about the area and its residents. Connecting with locals in the area can give you a perspective on what it is like to live in town.

The small business and industries that are part of the community contribute to local economies by bringing growth and industry into town. They offer employment, are part of creating the culture of the community, and build connections and relationships with the people of that community.

You can take a virtual walk of your potential neighborhood using Google Street View. You will be able to see where your house is located within the neighborhood, an idea and perspective of the lot the house is situated on, the proximity to other houses, as well as their condition.

Websites with town or neighborhood data can give you cost-of-living statistics, reviews from residents, ways to get involved with the community, and even information on trash pickup day.

Investigate schools and education data. Rankings and reviews will be important when selecting a school system for your students. One resource is

Look into a town or neighborhood’s safety ratings. Neighborhood safety can be indicative of crime rates, which can also impact home value.

If you are not working remotely, your commute is important to understand. How long you will spend in the car getting to and from work every day can make or break a buying decision.

By inputting the to and from addresses into a map application (like Google Maps) at the time that you will be driving, you can figure and approximate commute time from home to work and back again. What may be a 20-minute drive at 1 p.m., may turn into a 45-minute drive at 5:30 p.m., for example.

Call a local real estate agent. As professionals in the area, they can help to be sure you are well-informed about an individual home, and also about the neighborhood and town it’s in.

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Melissa and Todd Rolland

Melissa Rolland is a real estate salesperson, accredited home stager and has been a real estate investor for over a decade, helping hundreds of homeowners buy houses, sell houses, and invest in real e....

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