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If you’re starting to think about looking for a new home, picking the neighborhood can seem almost as complicated as picking the house itself. Here are five things to keep in mind as you explore neighborhoods you might like to live in.

1. Time the Commute to Your Job

If one of your reasons for moving is dissatisfaction with your commute, make sure you actually time your commute from your potential new home before you assume it will be faster. Even if the new neighborhood is closer to your job, traffic patterns and road conditions might make for a long drive. If possible, time your commute during rush hour, so you get the most accurate picture.

2. Go For a Walk

There’s no better way to get a sense of a neighborhood than taking a walk around it, ideally at a couple of different times of the day. Look for amenities that are important to you, like parks or grocery stores, and features you’re less fond of, like proximity to major roads. These little explorations will help you get a feel for how happy you could be in this area.

3. Attend a Local Event

If you’re looking to get a feel for the people who live in th