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RISMEDIA, May 17, 2007-When looking for a new home, finding the best neighborhood can be just as important as finding the perfect house.

Who wants a neighborhood of empty-nesters if you have young kids? And what singleton wants to live in a family-oriented neighborhood full of kids? So what characteristics should you look for in a good neighborhood? Holly Slaughter, editor-in-chief of Tips and Tools, suggests looking for the following characteristics:

Good public schools

A good neighborhood feeds into a well-regarded school system. This is key whether you have children or not. For anyone who has children or is thinking about having them, good schools are essential for obvious reasons. But even if you don’t have children and don’t plan to, good public schools can play a big role in your home’s resale value.

The best way to get information about school performance is to talk with local parents or access information such as test scores and other pertinent school information online. Interested parents can also visit schools in person to get a better feel for what they are like.

Access to an economic center

More than anything else, people want convenience. That means an easy commute to their job as well as living close to shopping and restaurants. Although a good neighborhood does not have to be right next to any of these things, it should at least have easy access to them. Nearby public facilities such as libraries, parks or walking trails, also adds appeal to neighborhoods.

Solid reputation

What do others say and think about the neighborhood? A good neighborhood should be well-regarded by a variety of people of different incomes and lifestyles. Does the neighborhood have a strong homeowners’ association that protects the interest of property owners? Are the lawns well-manicured and the homes well-maintained? Is crime an issue? When buying a home, it’s wise to keep in mind what other people will think of the neighborhood, as perception is often reality.

For more information,