3. What matters most in a neighborhood


  • Schools - Consider schools with your district and if you need it for the next ten years. The primary school may be great, but the high school could not matter mostly because they are boarding. Nonprofits such as Great Schools provide rankings on both public and private school quality.


  • Amenities - What libraries, parks, pools, grocers and retailers are nearby? If you want to shop at a specific farmers market or speciality store, for example, then consider the travel time. If you’re a frequent business traveller, think about travel time commuting to the airport.


  • Pet-friendliness - Do you need sidewalk space to walk your dogs? If you want to keep chickens or other uncommon pets, check neighbourhood restrictions. If you buy in a neighbourhood that’s governed by a homeowners association, the HOA may have additional restrictions, beyond town rules.


  • Walkability - Some buyers love their vehicles, and want a large garage and easy access to freeways. Others want higher walking potential. You might take stock of a neighbourhood’s sidewalks, walking paths or bicycle paths, and if those connections from the house to other locations you’d visit frequently.