Finding the right home for your family is about more than just yard size. After all, it’s the neighborhood that will likely determine things like the Little League teams your kids play on and whether they can walk to school.
Here’s how to find a neighborhood your family will love:
Read local reviews.
We asked locals across the nation to tell us about their neighborhood. These What Locals Say ratings on every Neighborhood page on Trulia show how many locals would say the following about their neighborhood:
- Kids can be seen playing outside
- There are sidewalks
- Neighbors are friendly
- It’s quiet
- Streets are well-lit
For example, in the Black Mountain Ranch neighborhood in San Diego, 88% of locals report that there are sidewalks, 81% say kids play outside, and 83% say it’s quiet.
On the Neighborhood page, you can also read quotes from parents who live in the area. One resident of Highland Park in Birmingham, Alabama, describes it as “the best neighborhood for families and pet lovers! Close to everything downtown with a safe, friendly, neighborhood vibe!”1
Check up on local schools.
Every home listing on Trulia includes public school information for that address. To see if the schools are a good fit for your kids’ needs, go to the Schools section at the bottom of each Trulia Neighborhood page. Here you’ll see a Great Schools Rating, a Parent Rating, and opinions written by parents whose kids are in those schools.
As you look at schools, consider our tips on how to find the ideal school for your kids. Once you narrow down your search, you can call to arrange an in-person visit to those schools as well.
Map out places to play.
One thing to look for? Lots of parks and playgrounds, says Frank L. DeFazio, a Trulia Premier Agent with Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Philadelphia. “It’s an easy indication that kids and families are nearby.”
On Trulia’s Neighborhood pages, there’s a map you can filter for “Fitness” to see where local parks and playgrounds are. It will also show you other places to play with your kids, like bike paths, museums, climbing walls, and mini golf courses.
Find local event calendars.
Check the websites of local libraries and community centers for their event calendars. Places that have lots of swim lessons, story times, and movies in the park give your little ones something to do. And it’s a sure sign that the community is invested in family life.
Take a virtual walk.
Before you put feet to concrete, get a Google Street View preview right on Trulia. Every home’s page on Trulia has a map gallery under the house photos. Click Google Street View, and you’ll start right at the home’s front door. From there, you can see what the route is like to the nearest park or school and explore the general condition of the neighborhood.
Visit in person.
Online research is a huge time-saver when narrowing your search, but there’s no substitute for visiting in person before you make a final decision.
“Take a walk around the neighborhood,” says DeFazio. “If a neighborhood is kid-friendly, you’ll see families with kids around, chalk drawings on sidewalks, houses with strollers and bikes in the yard, and cars with car seats in them.”
Time your visit for after school on weekdays or weekend afternoons, so you can get a sense of how many families are out and about. Be sure to swing by the local parks and playgrounds to see whether locals take their kids to the park on a nice day.
Chat up local parents.
No one knows a neighborhood like the parents who live there. Walking up to strangers may seem awkward, but parents are often happy to share about their community—especially if that means a new family might be moving in. Tell them what you’ve noticed to see if it matches their experience. It’s a great excuse to find out about the availability of local babysitters, too. And hey, if you like what you hear, you could be one step closer to setting up your first playdate.