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The dream house is also about the community

The dream house is also about the community

Choosing where to raise a family is one of the most important decisions for a household with children. Are there standard features a family ought to look for in a neighborhood, community, and town? Not really. The specifics are up to the values and needs of the individual household. Once you determine what you want, it’s time to put the town to the litmus test.

Real estate consultant Barbara Cocoran suggests some practical things homebuyers can and should do before purchasing a home. First and foremost, buyers need to look at the neighborhood and town where the house is located. Too often, buyers develop tunnel vision, focusing solely on the exterior and interior features of a property. Finding the dream house, however, is as much about the community as it is about square footage and floor plan. It’s critical to observe the people who live in the community in real time. Visit the house, neighborhood, and hot spots (playgrounds, local sports activities, and places families frequent) during evenings and weekends.

And if finding quality education is a top priority, Corcoran suggests that buyers check the SAT scores of the local high schools. These standardized achievement tests serve as one barometer of student success. Typically, higher scores translate to better schools and choosier buyers, who purposely seek out properties that will hold their value and increase over time. Are you looking for the ideal community? Check out the video tips at Forbes.com.