News & Insights

How to Pick the Right Neighborhood to Rent a Home

You may know exactly what you’re looking for inside a rental home, but have you thought about what makes an ideal neighborhood for you? Before you decide to sign a lease, audition the neighborhood with these tried-and-true testing tips.

Make your priorities clear

Everyone is looking for different things in an area. These tips cover some common priorities, but only you can know what you really want. You’re unlikely to find somewhere absolutely perfect, so make sure you know which priorities are more important than others. This way, when you have to make a choice about where to choose, you know ahead of time what’s most important to you and what you can sacrifice.

Map out (and try out) your day

If you’re going to be living in a neighborhood, you need to know what living there is going to be like. Pay more than just brief attention to where your job, school, and the like are from there. Get on Google Maps and time out how long it’ll take to drive or walk or bus to where you need to be every day. If you can, make the drive yourself to see what it’s going to be like. If the places you need to use often are a hassle to get to, this might not be the best neighborhood for you.

See what crime rates are like

Sometimes the look of a neighborhood can be deceiving. While you should not make a snap judgment, it also doesn’t hurt to check on past or recent crime activity in your prospective future neighborhood. Crime stats are well-kept and can be easily found online. Consult local government websites or a site dedicated to the subject, like CrimeReports.com.

In the right school district?

If you have kids, you’re going to care a lot about what schools they’re going to. What district various neighborhoods are in will make a big difference to you, so make sure that you’re getting a good one.

See what it looks like at night

You’ve seen the area during the day, but what somewhere looks like at night can be completely different. Take the chance to visit at night to see just how it looks. If you’re going to feel uncomfortable being out at night, that might outweigh how great the neighborhood looks during the day.

Ask the people who live there

If you have the opportunity to converse with other residents, ask what they think. The average person on the street isn’t trying to sell you on renting there and will often be very candid about what the neighborhood is like. They’ll know things it takes living there for months or years to know, and those can be crucial to understanding if you want to live somewhere.

You don’t have to wait to be a resident to make a balanced assessment of a neighborhood. Research it and spend some time there to see if you really want to make that your new home.

Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

Categories: Moving, Renters

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About the Author
The managing editor of Apartment Guide and rent.com, Brian Carberry has more than 10 years’ experience as a content creator and award-winning journalist. Brian’s work has been featured on CNN, Search Engine Land, Randstad and a number of other organizations around the world. In his free time, Brian enjoys sports, cooking and debating the correct pronunciation of “gif.”