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5 Things to Look For in a Neighborhood - No Matter Where You Move

 

From RIS Media

Since relocating is such a major undertaking, it's vital to thoroughly research your options. This is especially essential regarding an overseas move. Here are five things to assess in a prospective neighborhood to ensure you'll feel at home, no matter whether your new home is here or abroad.

1. Transportation
One consideration is how you'll navigate your new surroundings. Find out whether you'll have access to public transportation or need a car. If you can use public transit, what are the service hours and stops? If you require airport proximity, determine how you'll get there. Do you currently have a job lined up? If so, calculate the distance of the commute from the neighborhood in question. Will the trip be a cakewalk or grueling? According to World Knowing, the top-ranked countries with the best transportation systems in the world are Hong Kong, Singapore, the UAE, Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, France, Spain, and UK.

Even if a REALTOR lists the distance from a house to a public station, the calculation doesn't always include door-to-door travel time. You may be able to use Google Maps to determine this. If not, the website of a city's public transit system may provide a clue.

2. Businesses
Before visiting a neighborhood, think about businesses you'll be frequenting, such as a bank, grocery, pharmacy, and retail shops. Make sure they're a feasible distance from your prospective home. Also, ensure their customer service is reputable and prices are reasonable. For example, if there's a grocer nearby, does it stock staples or only expensive gourmet goods? Where can you find fresh produce?

You may be able to minimize leg work by reading online business reviews. Yelp is expanding internationally, with websites emerging in Europe and Asia. Reviews are also conveniently available via iPhone and Android apps. Local Yelp announces business openings and events in major cities.

3. Schools
If you have children, REALTORS will tell you that another must-have is access to quality education. Many overseas schools provide bus services, but trip length must be tolerable for kids. In towns where public schools are sub-par, you may want to enroll them in private school. If so, consider the extra expense of entrance fees, tuition, uniforms, and transportation.

Did you know there's a correlation between the presence of schools and crime? A 2011 study by the University of New Mexico found that elementary schools have a protective effect against property crimes. Middle schools, however, promote drug felonies, and high schools foster both property and narcotics crime. So, regarding school proximity, aim to be close enough for a short trip, though not a hop, skip, and jump away.

Concerning school reputation, attend a PTA meeting at a given school. By speaking with other parents, you'll get firsthand information on the school's quality. A good school district increases a home's value, should you wish to sell in the future.

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