Neighborhood information for homebuyers

Before you start looking for a new home, it is helpful to target a neighborhood that fits your budget, lifestyle and interests. There are several national and local sites you can tap into to learn about the price range of houses, as well as the character and amenities of particular communities. Check out a few of these sites.

AreaVibes helps consumers find the best places to live in America by assigning a Livability Score to specific addresses, ZIP codes, neighborhoods and cities. The Livability Score is created from an algorithm based on various metrics for each city, including: amenities, cost of living, crime rates, education, employment, housing and weather. Once the score is assigned to that particular area, a list of other nearby neighborhoods and cities are also displayed based on their Livability Scores, creating a list of the best places to live. The list can then be further modified to include the various metrics that are most or least important.
City Data
City Data collects and analyzes data from numerous sources to create profiles of all U.S. cities. The site includes city photos, graphs of latest real estate prices and sales trends, recent home sales, home-value estimator maps and satellite photos. It also profiles the demographics of the residents, offers geographical and crime data, and provides statistics on the cost of living. In addition, the site lists religious organizations, businesses, local news links, city government synopses, and information on hospitals, schools, libraries, airports and more. The site also includes a forum and a social network with 1.4 million registered members.
Home Facts offers data in 23 different categories for potential homebuyers, pointing out the treasures as well as the disadvantages of different areas. The database of information is searchable by state, county and city. It drills down on services such as schools, libraries and hospitals, as well as crime, hazards and weather. The website also looks at proximity to services, and rates areas on “walkability.”
Neighborhood Scout is a consumer search engine, managed by Location, Inc., a builder and source of location-based data and risk-analysis information for corporate users nationwide. According to the company, more than 24 million people and businesses have used Location, Inc. data and services since the company’s inception in 2000.
Since 2005, Trulia has provided homebuyers, sellers, owners, and renters with information they need to make housing decisions. The site provides house hunters with insights and unique information not just about properties, but also about neighborhoods and agents across the country. Plus, users can learn about schools, crimes, commute times, and even ask the local community questions to get a better sense of each neighborhood.
Zillow is a home and real estate marketplace dedicated to helping homeowners, home buyers, sellers, renters, real estate agents, mortgage professionals, landlords and property managers find and share vital information about homes, real estate, mortgages and home improvement. Its mission is to empower consumers with information and tools to make smart decisions about homes, real estate and mortgages.