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Top 10 considerations when choosing your new neighborhood.

City or suburb? Close proximity to work or walkable neighborhood? Your home's location will play a big role in your everyday life, so it's important to consider all of the features that come with a new neighborhood and evaluate how they may serve your lifestyle before deciding where to buy. Take these 10 features to heart when narrowing down your list of new homes:
  1. Neighborhood safety
    To gain insight into an area's overall safety profile, check CrimeReports.com. Survey the area for neighborhood watch signs, talk to residents and call the local police department to learn more about crime rates.

  2. Police and fire resources
    Knowing where police and fire stations are located can help you build a sense of security with your new neighborhood. Cruise the community looking for stations, do an online search, or try FireDepartment.net.

  3. Hospitals and medical care
    Research the local medical and dental resources, including the nearest emergency careDoctorDirectory.com is a useful tool. If you have pets, check for veterinary clinics, too.

  4. Preschools, elementary schools, and high schools
    School quality impacts your family's happiness and a home's potential resale value. Visit GreatSchools.org to read statistics and reviews of public and private schools near your proposed new address.

  5. Banking and financial institutions
    You can check for Commerce Bank locations here. Likewise, you can talk with your insurance providers and any other financial institutions to see if they have convenient locations in your proposed community.  Remember, while it’s a good idea to know where your nearest branch is located, mobile banking also allows you to handle many of your banking needs from the convenience of your home.

  6. Homeowner's Association rules and amenities
    Subdivision organizations often provide neighborhood amenities like parks, pools and landscaping. Ask your real estate agent if there are any homeowner's association (HOA) rules or amenities.

  7. Grocery stores, parks and more
    Scout the proximity of gas stations (and compare the prices while you're at it). You can use WalkScore.com to evaluate the accessibility of public transportation, grocery stores, restaurants  and parks. For more on nearby parks and recreation departments, try mobile apps like Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder and MomMaps.

  8. Family and friends
    Another factor that can help you feel right at home in a new community: Proximity to family and friends. Take time to consider how far they'll be from your proposed new home and what that distance might mean to your personal life.

  9. Shopping
    Are there any malls, shopping centers or boutiques nearby? And do they fit your personal style and budget? Take a drive, explore on foot or visit the local Chamber of Commerce for details on local retail.

  10. The big picture
    The search engine Neighborhood Scout lets you build your ideal neighborhood profile using keywords and aspects like school quality, crime risk and real estate trends. Then it recommends communities that have the characteristics you value most. The unique "Match" feature lets you select a neighborhood you like and offers suggestions for similar ones, even in other states.

Visit during day and evening hours, and don't be shy about chatting up neighbors and others who work or play in the area. It's just one more way you can help ensure your new neighborhood is ideal for you!