September 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm EDT | by Sue Goodhart
Quick tips for your home search
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The internet has a vast array of resources that can help you make intelligent decisions when purchasing real estate. (Photo courtesy CreativeCommons)

The quest for a new home can be both an exciting and a daunting task. Location, size, lifestyle, flair, convenience, commute, safety — all important factors to consider when looking for a home and unfortunately, some of these do not come up in a typical home search database.


Of course the best way to determine if a property meets your needs in terms of location, convenience and commute is the old-fashioned way. Go out and walk the neighborhood at different times of day, talk to the neighbors and test out your commute.

If you don’t have the time or are just getting started in your search, don’t worry. There are many websites and tools that can help you make this process easier to navigate. A website called “WalkScore” (  is a great way to see how close a particular address is to key destinations such as shopping, transportation, grocery, restaurants, bars, convenience stores — you name it.  It gives you a rating based on the walkability of the neighborhood.

Google Street View is also a way to virtually walk through the neighborhood with real images of the street and surrounding neighborhood. This can help you evaluate the other homes on the block and surrounding streets, as well as show you the proximity to nearby amenities. Any of the Google maps can also show you how long it will take you to walk, bike, take public transportation or drive to any given location.

If safety is a concern, visit your local police website or call your local precinct. If you live in the D.C. city limits, you can also visit to look up a location and see exactly what type of crimes are committed within different proximities of a given address, within different time frames.

Our firm also just launched a new website with some great search features. We are most excited about the Metro Search at which allows you to search for listings based on proximity to any Metro stop. This is new technology which is making the home finding process much easier for Metro commuters throughout our area. Additionally, we have developed a new lifestyle search there too that allows potential purchasers to search for homes in communities that fit their particular desires including arts and culture, shopping, restaurants, pet-friendly neighborhoods, urban versus suburban or rural, health and public services and more.

It’s a great new tool for determining both neighborhoods that fit your needs as well as individual listings. Among many other new types of searches now available on our site are a luxury search, open house search, map search, advanced search, new listing search and new price search. There is also a proximity search that pulls up all listings within a given distance from any location. Visit and play around with the different search options.

Though there are many more sites and tools to help you in finding a new home. Of course, feel free to contact us to set up a custom search for you based on your needs and desires or to talk with us about the D.C., Northern Virginia or Maryland real estate market. Please visit our blog ( for links to the mentioned sites.

Sue Goodhart is the top-producing agent at McEnearney Associates in Alexandria and is licensed in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. She can be reached at 703-549-9292 or

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