Thinking about packing up and moving away? Before you close your eyes and spin the globe to pick your next neighborhood, take a second to think about what you want and need in a new community.

Cost of living varies in neighborhoods all across the nation. If you already know how much you can afford for a new home, then you can figure out what neighborhoods you can afford as well. Think about the cost in certain neighborhoods of daily necessities such as groceries and gas, but also speak to your Realtor about long-term budget influences, such as taxes and property values.

The neighborhood you choose could be where you live forever. It is so important to do research into the safety of the community prior to purchasing a house there. If you can, go visit the neighborhood during the morning, afternoon & night. If there is anything that makes you feel uneasy, it may not be the place for you. You can also look into the crime statistics in that area. Many statistics can be looked up online, but you can even call the local police department to ask questions if necessary.

Don't keep scrolling at this part because you don't have children. Kids or no kids, the school systems in your potential neighborhood can affect you. Obviously if you have children, you will want to look into the schools that are offered in the district you would like to move to. Consider private versus public school systems, and research the ratings of the schools. Even if you don't have children, the quality of schools in your neighborhood can directly affect the cost of your home. In short, the better the school systems, the higher value the homes in that neighborhood will have.

Whether it is for work or leisure, choose a town that can accommodate your travel needs. If you are interested in moving to a rural neighborhood, be prepared to put more miles on your vehicle, as walking and public transit will probably not be an option. If the "city life" is more for you, keep in mind that you might have to nix the car, and choose to take trains, subways or ride shares instead. Don't assume that all cities in the US have mass public transit either, as some do not. If that is the case, be prepared to drive in traffic, traffic and more traffic.

Imagine that you finally bought your dream house, you move in, and then you realize that there is absolutely nothing to do in your area. If that's exactly what you wanted, great! If that happens to be your worst nightmare, make sure to research nearby amenities prior to moving. Options of restaurants, bars, parks, museums, libraries etc., can change a community. If you at least know what that area has to offer, you can then choose to be in the middle of it all, on the outskirts, or as far away as possible.

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