Nearly 70 percent of us own our homes. As adults, we'll change residences more than 10 times. Our homes define us, shelter us, and support us. Whether you want to find a new home, sell an old home, fix up your home, insure it, fireproof it, decorate it, or refinance it, the Web has all the information you need to accomplish these tasks, and much more. The findingDulcinea Homes Guide will lead you to the Where, the Which, and the How Much for your heart's desire.
If you are thinking of relocating but aren't quite sure where you'd like to live, there are plenty of online resources that can help you find cities or neighborhoods that suit your needs.
- Most cities have their own Web sites that will give you basic statistics and news. A good indication that you are at a city's official site is if the Web address has a ".gov" at the end.
- Read a local paper to see what is going on in the town where you are interested in moving.
For city or state information ...
offers information on almost every city or zip code in the United States—even those with populations under 1,000. Because of the vast amount of data, some of the statistics—household income and whatnot—may be from the last United States Census and thus might be out of date. But the weather forecasts for every city are nearly up to the minute. You'll find maps, lots of photos of the city, the latest news, population information (median age, ethnicities, income, even if there are sex offenders living in the city and who they are). For a site that is visually unimpressive, it contains a wealth of information. If you don't see your city listed on a state list, check the top of the list and you'll be linked to lists of cities that are between 1,000 and 6,000 residents and those that have fewer than 1,000 residents.
provides links to the official government pages of each of the 50 United States. Find links to information about the climate, the state constitution, news headlines, pictures of the state flag, and other official sites for local sports teams, state parks, different types of maps, quick facts from the Census Bureau, and vital records (birth, death, marriage).
has a cost-of-living calculator that will indicate how well you will be able to live in a new city based on your current salary and town. You'll find how much more (or less) groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, and health care will cost, on average, in your destination city. CNN has other calculators, such as the house affordability calculator
For neighborhood information or statistics ...
provides area listings in interactive map form, as well as "Heat Maps" of the housing prices in specific areas. Real estate guides searchable by city or zip code provide housing cost, school, and other community statistics. The "Trulia Spotlight" map details neighborhoods, schools, and the homes for sale there.
estimates the home values in your area (or the neighborhood you're thinking of moving to). This site is very easy to navigate. Just enter a complete address into the prominent search box, and you'll find not only details about a property (construction date, estimated value, bedroom/bathroom count, school district info) but also an aerial view of the property from Google Maps. Zoom in on the photo and see the property in detail, down to the trees and backyard lawn furniture. Not all properties show price estimates, but the ones that do also provide a wealth of information about the area: comparisons of the property to others like it in the area; charts and graphs of median age and quality of life in the neighborhood; selling price for homes in the area over time; market fundamentals such as unemployment rate; and median price per square foot in the area. If the home is your own, you can refine the value estimate by correcting any out-of-date information.
provides more information about a neighborhood than you even knew you wanted: nearby toxic sites, FEMA flood maps, and property tax information in addition to the detailed information (and sometimes photographs) of a property and its neighbors. You'll find most major metropolitan areas on Property Shark, but smaller cities—and less populated states—aren't listed at all.
is a service of Standard and Poor's. Research a public school or district by your zip code and find the proficiency levels of the students, the student-to-teacher ratio, the total enrollment, along with other performance information. Search by state and find spending information and performance indicators.
Sperling's Best Places
has very simplified and straightforward city statistics. Although Best Places doesn't provide the detail of some of the other sites, you can compare statistics of two cities fairly easily on this site. The Crime Rate Comparisons
section will compare the crime rates of two cities based on a 1-10 index (a higher number meaning more crime).
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