So, you’re planning on moving home, but aren’t sure where to start looking and how to find the best fit for you and your family. Of course, a major factor in where you’ll relocate to is the area’s proximity to your job. Beyond that, you really don’t know.

When scoping out a neighborhood for your next place of residence, it’s vital to keep a few fundamental ideas in mind to ensure you make the right decision. After all, it can be quite disconcerting to move into your dream house only to discover you don’t like the area that surrounds it. By following the tips below, you should be able to find a home in a neighborhood that works ideally for you and your family.

1. Think About the Kids

If you have young kids, you’ll want to consider a neighborhood close to good early learning and child care centers. You’ll be much happier and a lot less stressed if you don’t have to drive an hour out of your way every morning carting your kids to a school you trust clear across town.

For older children, take the time to visit schools in the district. Consider things like the curriculum, cleanliness, and the attitude of the teachers before deciding to send your kids there. If the staff is grouchy and inattentive toward you, they’ll most likely be that way with your kids, too.

2. Location, Location

Being close to facilities like parks and supermarkets is a convenience many people find necessary when considering buying a new home. In fact, a neighborhood located too far from these things can be a deal-breaker for many buyers. Be sure to make a list of the amenities that are important to you and tick them off in each suburb you look in before signing away your new lease or mortgage.

3. Safety First

It’s hard to tell how safe a neighborhood is in the daytime. When the sun is shining and birds are chirping, all may seem cheery and bright. When evening falls, however, things can change in a hurry. Make a point of driving through the neighborhood at night to familiarize yourself with the atmosphere before moving in. In addition, check crime statistics for the area by going online to determine how much crime takes place in the neighborhood, and what types of felonies are most prevalent. Of course, you can also visit the local police department for a crime statistics report, too.

4. Talk to the Neighbors

There’s only so much research and stake-out work you can do to determine if a neighborhood is perfect for your family or not. To really get a feel for the area, you need to get out of your car and talk to the residents who live there. Most people are excited to share their thoughts on the community they live in, so be sure to work your most important questions into the conversation. Be upfront about the nature of your inquiries, and who knows? Maybe you’ll come away with a better understanding of the neighborhood and make a few new friends in the process.

Finding the right neighborhood to move your family to can be quite a daunting task. Ideally, you hope to find your dream home smack dab in the middle of a perfect neighborhood. Fortunately, this is entirely possible if you put a little thought and planning into your move. The tips above will help you decide on a suburb that will make you and your family happy for many years to come.