1. Make a list of all of the amenities that are close by in the communities you're considering for your new home. When considering tour new neighborhood, if at all possible, try driving the routes that you and/or your family will need to take & keep in mind the time of day that those routes will be taken. You need to decide what distances are acceptable to reach each of these places. If you cannot drive the routes, perhaps your realtor could or check distances and routes with online maps. Also contacting local Motor Clubs could also be a source of information as to what routes are known to be heavily congested or if construction is being planned in the near future.
2. As everyones need and wants are different, make a list of what neighborhood features are most important to you and your family as you consider different communities. Below is a short list of of amenities to consider as you compare different communities and be sure to add others that are important to you. Also, keep in mind that those areas with the features that appeal to the broadest amount of buyers, will help when the time comes for the resale of your home.
Are there parks nearby?
Is it scenic and visually appealing?
Are there quiet areas, streets, culs de sac?
Are the people friendly in the neighborhood?
Is the neighborhood clean? Yards, streets, parks?
Are there nice trees and foliage?
Do the lots have large or small yards?
Are there walkways and are they easily accessible?
Is it a safe neighborhood?
What are the market values of the homes in the area?
Are there many houses for sale?
How long ago was the community developed?
What is the average age of the people in the area?
Are there families with small children in the area?
What is the proximity to schools?
Are there community events or organizations?
3. If at all possible, take a stroll around the neighborhood at a different time and day than when you first looked at homes. You will not only get a better indea as to the traffic patterns at different times but you can see the cleanliness of the streets and yards and better determine the friendliness of the residents of the particular neighborhood that you are considering. Also explore local shops and talk to local merchants who have a wealth of information about the communites under consideration.