Buying a home is a commitment. In most cases, people live in their homes for at least five years. That is a long time to be stuck in a neighborhood that doesn't fit you or your family. So, which Grand Strand neighborhood is right for you? We've got some tips to help you narrow down your options.

Tip #1: Check crime statistics and school statistics.

Even if you don't have children (or have them yet), top-ranked schools are general indicators of quality neighborhoods. For example, you can find top-ranked schools in Carolina Forest, Surfside Beach and many communities in the South Strand area (St. James Schools). You can check crime statistics through a number of websites or request this information from the law enforcement agency that covers that neighborhood (city police, county police or county sheriff departments). Keep in mind that crime can happen anywhere, however, looking for low crime levels is a general best practice when evaluating neighborhoods.

Tip #2: Check out the neighborhood in person.

One of the best ways to determine if a neighborhood or community is a good fit for you is to spend some time there in person. Take a drive through the neighborhood or specific communities you're interested in (with the exception of gated communities). If possible, park and take a walk. Talk to folks that live in that neighborhood about what they like about living there and what they aren't so fond of. Many communities also have groups on social media where you can check in with the locals about various neighborhoods in their area.

Tip #3: Soak up the vibe.

Many of our communities in the Grand Strand offer different vibes and different kinds of energy. The Market Common is a master-planned walkable community of mixed residential and commercial space with lots of little shops plus plenty of parks and green space for activities. If you're looking for family-oriented communities, you'll want to check out neighborhoods in Carolina Forest and Surfside Beach. The upscale nightlife crowd will enjoy the vibe of a number of neighborhoods in North Myrtle Beach. Meanwhile, the laid-back sweet tea and walks on the beach folks will enjoy Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet neighborhoods.

Tip #4: Talk with your real estate agent.

Your realtor is your guide to the inside scoop on all of the different neighborhoods and communities all along the Grand Strand. While it's good to do your own research, don't overlook the valuable information your agent can provide. They are experts in this market and can guide you to neighborhoods that meet your individual needs.