Article By Julie Provost

The day has come. PCS orders have been issued.

One of the very next steps that a military family will take is to start the search for a new home… the “perfect” neighborhood.

Checklist for a “Perfect” Neighborhood

Some mil families want to live on post while others prefer living out in town. Some want a lot of space, indoors and out. While others prefer something cozier, more intimate, that doesn’t take as much work to keep up. Regardless of where you want to live, there are certain factors military families value most when looking for the “perfect” neighborhood.

Good Schools

south-county-high-school7_carouselSchools are very important to military families as they will want to find a learning environment that not only has good ratings but is also military friendly. Moving into a neighborhood with lower ranking schools can make for a stressful school year. Even if a military family does not have school aged children when they first move in, schools can be important for other reasons. A family may expect their kids to attend schools during their stay. If they are buying a house that they plan on reselling at some point, good schools can be a deciding factor in how well the property will resell.

Friendly Neighbors

Finding good neighbors that are friendly and who respect your space is paramount. Low key neighbors that don’t start a lot of drama and watch out for one another are usually most desired. These types of neighbors are the ones that families can depend on during deployments and who will help out in times of trouble. In most cities with a military base, there will be a mix between civilian and military families in off base housing.

Proximity to Post/Base

2010-04-02-001-2010-04-02-041Some military families don’t want a long commute so they choose to live on post or in a local neighborhood that is within a few miles of post. Others want to have a bit of distance between them and work. They choose to live further away in more civilian neighborhoods. The closer the neighborhood is to the military post, the more military families will usually live there. When trying to find that perfect neighborhood, a military family will need to decide how far they want to be from the military installation. There are pros and cons to both choices depending on the type of military life the family is hoping to have.

Close to the Neighborhood

Another factor in choosing a neighborhood is what is nearby. From grocery stores to the doctor’s office to favorite restaurants, some families like to be able to walk to a park or other favorite spot. Others don’t mind driving further if that gives them a little bit more land and space. Military families can research what is convenient to the neighborhoods they will be looking at and that should help them to decide if a particular neighborhood is the one for them.

Look of the Neighborhood

2010-06-03-001-2010-05-30-025From the amount of trees to the style of homes, the way a neighborhood looks is also important to military families. If a family is looking on post they might not have as much choice as to the type of home.  But those looking at off post housing have a choice of whatever styles are common in the region. If the family likes to walk places, they may want to find a neighborhood that would be easy to walk around in with sidewalks or walking trails. Cul de Sacs are also a big draw and can be a great place to raise children.

Feeling Safe

Safety is also a big concern for military families. This is why some people prefer to live on post. They feel safer behind the gates. Military families can check the crime rates for their new city and talk to some of the residents in order to get a feel for how safe the area is. Driving by at night is also a good idea. This can give someone an idea of how safe the neighborhood is and what nighttime in the area is like.

Finding the “perfect” neighborhood can seem daunting if not impossible. But with a little research and helpful resources like PCSgrades, You can find the ideal place for the next few years for your military family. It might take some time, but doing the research will be worth it!

orrpwlcgAuthor: Julie Provost is a popular freelance blogger with over 8500 page views a month on her blog Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life. She enjoys life in Tennessee with her husband, a National Guard soldier and their three boys. Julie enjoys blogging, reading, photography and a good cup of coffee. You can follow her on Twitter @bloggingJulie.

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