If you’re moving to a new neighborhood in Atlanta, then you’re likely weighing numerous factors that will go into finding the perfect area to call home. You’re probably considering schools, the commute and nearby amenities.

But there are three other important things you should look for when you’re scouting out potential neighborhoods.

  • Everyday life in the neighborhood: The easiest way to assess this is by talking to at least three sets of neighbors. Ask them how long they’ve lived there, what they like about the neighborhood and what they don’t. You can ask if their homes or vehicles have ever been broken into, if their children attend the local schools, and the structural integrity of the houses in the neighborhood, since it’s highly likely the same builder built all or most of the homes in the community.
  • The home’s CLUE report: This is information gathered under the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, a database used by the insurance industry. It outlines a list of any insurance claims made on the home over the past five years. This can give you more information about any type of damage the home has sustained and what was done to fix it. If there is an extensive history of claims, it will likely be more difficult or more expensive to obtain homeowner’s insurance. If you find a house that you’re interested in, ask the seller to order the CLUE report for your examination. No personal information, like name, social security number or date of birth, is revealed in the report.
  • Sex offender registry: If you have children, then checking the quality of local schools is a no-brainer. But you also want to ensure your kids are growing up in a safe neighborhood. By law, some Georgia registered sex offender information is public. This is typically information on the most violent sexual offenders. You can visit the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Sex Offender Registry and enter the address of the house you’re eyeing. You’ll then get information about any sex offenders in the neighborhood. You can also specify how far of a distance you want to search from the home and pull up a state map that provides a breakdown of how many offenders are registered in each county.

Sometimes the best way to research moving to a new neighborhood is to talk to an experienced real estate agent. She knows the ins and outs of the entire community and can help answer any questions or alleviate any concerns. The number one retail sales agent in the United States as ranked by REALTOR.com is Rhonda Duffy, the owner and broker of Duffy Realty of Atlanta. Duffy states that there is an 8-step methodical process to buying a home. I have detailed that process, step for step, in my Buyer Action Timeline. It is a proprietary matrix for both buyer and agent to follow, to make sure the other is following along in the process at the right time, keeping the process proceeding.

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