Q. I’m new to the area and want to buy a house soon. Other than pictures on the Internet and asking my co-workers about certain areas, how would you suggest I find out if a certain neighborhood is for me?

A. Great question.  I counsel my buyers to do a few things.  Drive through appealing neighborhoods at various times of the day and night, weekdays and weekend to see who lives there and what is happening.  Is this a social community or do people stay to themselves?  Get out of the car and walk or jog different areas to get a feel for what they are like.  While out, use the Zillow app on your smartphone to see what homes are going for in areas in which you are not familiar.  Once you have decided on a few areas, call the school board and see what time the school bus picks up/drops off.  Chat with the parents waiting for the kids and see what age groups are represented if this is important to you.  With regards to crime, call the Sheriff’s office and ask to ride with the police officer that patrols that area.  You can spend a half day riding with a law enforcement person and find out more about an area than most any other source.  Finally, check out http://skyvector.com to see if the neighborhood is in an airport’s flight path.