5 Best Research Tools to Use Before Moving to a New Town

    Moving to a new city or area can be overwhelming when it comes to finding a home in the right area for your needs and wants. Friends and family referrals are the most helpful but oftentimes you won’t have that luxury if you’re moving to an area where you don’t know anyone. If you find yourself in this scenario, check out these website research tools that will allow you to know everything you need to know before you buy a home somewhere new:

    Greatschools.org – Great Schools allows you to type in an address which will then pull up rated schools within a specified distance from you, noting the zoned schools for that address as well as other schools nearby. You can then search for homes within that school zone, or click compare to side-by-side analyze multiple schools. You can check out schools’ average test scores, ethnicity breakdown, teacher-to-student ratio and read parent feedback and reviews.

    Streetadvisor.com – On Street Advisor you can search by city, neighborhood or street to find out more information about an area in which you’re hoping to live. Cities and neighborhood information may be limited in places but they will be rolling out more soon. You can then put parameters around your search based on your age and stage of life and if factors like traffic, cost of living, public transportation, etc. are important for you.

    Neighborhoodscout.com – Neighborhood Scout is a subscription-based service but would be worth the cost if you are truly new to an area and don’t know where to start looking. The cost is high at $79.99 if just paying by the month, so the site is usually just a tool for real estate agents but if can be a great starting point if you truly need a starting point for an area. The site tracks crime rates, market trends and forecasts for that particular area, among other things.

    Trulia.com, Zillow.com and Redfin.com – These three real estate listing sites give estimated values for homes and feature MLS listings. You can save houses, look for rentals and check out school and crime ratings as well. They’re great for quick overviews of a neighborhood’s pricing and a great place to save houses to share with a real estate agent once you begin your official hunt.

    Spotcrime.com – Spot Crime allows you to sign up to get text or email alerts when crimes occur near a specified address as well as see a list of crimes and when they occurred.

    What resources do you enjoy using for real estate research?

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