Choosing a Community
What should I think about when I'm deciding which community I want to live in?
Good city services, nice parks and playground facilities, convenient shopping and transportation, a track record of sound development and good planning -- these are just a few considerations that are important to many people when they choose a community in which to live.
As for individual neighborhoods within a village or city, there is no better source of information than your real estate professional. Sales professionals know the people and the communities they serve, and chances are they can help you find a neighborhood that really fits your family's needs.
Where can I get information about local schools?
Again, a good real estate professional is perhaps your best source. They know where the local schools are and can provide you with valuable information about school districts, including test scores, extracurricular activities, bus service and more. If you're relocating, a sales professional may even be able to put you in touch with teachers and principals when you visit the area. And if you want to do a little searching on your own, the Internet may also be a good place to start. ERA.com has a special link to neighborhood information, including information about area school districts.
How can I find out what homes are selling for in a given neighborhood?
In most areas, home sales are a matter of public record -- you can get all the information you want about recent sales, including prices and listing times, by calling the county Recorder of Deeds.
An easier way is to ask your real estate professional. If you're interested in a particular home, a sales professional may be able to provide you with a list of comparables -- sale prices of homes in your area that are roughly the same size and age as the home you're considering. Although there will certainly be some differences between the homes -- the house next door may have an extra bedroom, or the one down the block may be older than the one you're looking at -- it's a good basis for evaluating the seller's asking price.