A large part of a successful move is finding a good neighborhood. Here’s a few ways to find what pretty much everyone agrees makes up a good ‘hood:
Schools: You can view demographics and stats for any school district in the US by navigating to the School District Demographic System. Even better, School Matters, a incredibly useful site put together by Standard and Poors’ with the ability to compare school districts side by side. Visit nearby schools and local businesses.
General demographics: you can use Yahoo Neighborhoods to get a quick rundown of what any neighborhood looks like. All you need is a zip code and to obtain a general overview of your targeted community’s demographic makeup. Visit the neighborhood on your own at different times of day and night. Talk to neighbors.
Stores and services:HomePages has a nifty zoom map that hones in any neighborhood of your choice, mapping stores, roads, etc. In addition, there’s Old Reliable, Google Maps, with which you can find local businesses. Subscribe to the local paper. Small local papers can be chock-full of information that gives you a feel for the neighborhood or community.