A recent article on MSN.com brought to mind the many web sites that can help a buyer gather information to enable them to make an informed decision about a particular neighborhood.
Realtors are not permitted to discuss certain information about the neighborhood because of fair-housing laws.
This may include specific information regarding school district, quality of school districts or what the demographics of specific schools might be. The good news is that this information can be found on the web at several different sites. For example, the National Center for Education Statistics web site has data including a particular school's student-to-teacher ratio, or enrollment by race and ethnicity. For information about academic performance and to compare schools, the School Matters Website is a service of Standard and Poor's. Another site is Great Schools.
If a buyer has questions about sexual offenders in the neighborhood, one of the sites they can visit is Family Watchdog,a national sex-offender-registry Web site.
Information about crime in the neighborhood can also be found at the local police department.
Learning the demographics of a neighborhood can be researched at the U.S. Census Bureau'sWeb site-clicking on the Quick facts page.
Finally, although there is a wealth of knowledge on-line, there are questions that can best be answered just by walking or driving through the neighborhood at different times during the day. For example, the parking situation, or how many children are in the area.