How to Choose the Perfect Neighborhood When Buying a Home From Out of State

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Last Updated on December 3, 2021

Neighborhood flower shop

Y’all let’s face it – buying a home isn’t easy and choosing a neighborhood can be even harder! It can be even more intimidating when you are moving to a new state and trying to find the perfect house. My boyfriend and I just went through the process of buying a home in Franklin, TN while still living in NYC. It definitely wasn’t a walk in the park, but today I’m sharing my top tips for finding your ideal neighborhood!

Decide What’s Most Important

Before you can really begin your home search it’s important to narrow down what specific things are most important to you. This will be a huge help when it comes to narrowing down the areas you want to search in.

Everyone’s list will look different based on their specific needs/wants but here are some key things you may want to consider when evaluating a neighborhood:

  • Safety
  • School zones
  • Demographic (i.e. families vs. young professionals vs. college students, etc.)
  • Proximity to amenities (restaurants, shops, entertainment nearby)
  • Proximity to surrounding areas
  • Commute/Traffic

I recommend picking 2-3 key things that are most important to you because lord knows it’s very rare to find an area that has it all! For me, the most important things were location and demographic. We wanted to live in an area with other young professionals and families so it would be easier to meet people our age. It was also really important to me that we were near downtown so it was easy to get to our favorite restaurants and shops.

Research Different Neighborhoods

There are a few great ways to research an area’s neighborhoods to get a feel for which would be the best fit!

In Person Research

If you have the opportunity to visit the city/general area you are planning on moving to it’s one of the best ways to determine which neighborhoods are the best fit for you. Before starting our search, my boyfriend and I made a quick weekend trip to the Nashville area to try to get a feel for which neighborhood we would want to live in.

We had 4 days set aside for our neighborhood research. Here’s the plan we found most effective:

  • Day 1: Drive around, A LOT! We spent the entire day driving around neighborhoods within Nashville and several towns right outside of Nashville. As we drove we took note of the amenities, whether the area was “up-and-coming,” proximity to Nashville and other surrounding areas, and the overall vibe we felt
  • Day 2: We eliminated a few neighborhoods from our list after Day 1. On Day 2 we spent a few hours in each of the remaining areas walking around and taking a closer look at the things most important to us – close proximity to walking trails, restaurants, and shops, a younger demographic, and a strong AirBNB market
  • Days 3 & 4: After Day 2 we were able to narrow it down to two neighborhoods so we spent one full day exploring each! We walked around shops, ate at a few popular local spots, checked out nearby trails, and talked to several people we met along the way. After Day 4 we knew what neighborhood we wanted to live in which made our home search much easier

Online Research

Sometimes it’s not possible to travel to the area you are looking to move to before you start your home search and that’s okay! There are still plenty of online resources you can use to learn more about different neighborhoods. Here are a few websites I used:

Homes close to restaurants

You’ve Picked a Neighborhood – Now What?

So you’ve picked a neighborhood (or a few) and you’re ready to start looking at houses – now what? In the next post in this series we’ll give you our top tips on finding the perfect realtor and what to ask/request to help make the buying process go smoothly!

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  1. This is helpful for me! My husband and I are looking at buying a home in the next year and any advice is appreciated.

  2. This is such a needed post! We’ve looked into moving out of state and have made the mistake of choosing the wrong neighborhood before. These are good tips!

  3. My husband and I are “looking” for a new home – not seriously or aggressively but more.. if we found the right one.. haha. We’ve been saying that for about a year. We would love to find land and build again – but that’s easier said than done! We’ve started looking out of state since both of us can work from anywhere – these tips definitely help!

  4. awesome in life, however I’ve been a renter for over 30 years and have been scared to buy a home plus my credit hasn’t been the best, however I have a clean slate with all of that and would love to relocate but again very scared too not sure about the economies and different states currently being in Indiana I would love to know an affordable state to move to.

    1. I totally understand Tracy! We are loving it In Tennessee but did lots of research on what industries do well here to make sure they lined up with the careers we have/want. Try doing some google searches on a few places you’re interested in moving to! I’ve also found Facebook groups for specific cities/towns to be so helpful because you can get advice/information from people that actually live there!

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