In my opinion, the very best way to figure out where to live starts with figuring out work commute times. Draw a circle on a map which encompasses the maximum driving distance/time you can handle. Within the circle, you can then eliminate areas close to the freeway, train tracks, industrial parks, and/or other areas that you want to avoid. Once you've done that, plan on spending a day or two hanging out in and around the areas that interest you most and have housing that fits your budget. This way you can get a good feel for the demographics of the local population and specific characteristics of the neighborhoods. Once you've narrowed it down, call me or one of the other Realtors to help you find a great house.
As a side note, Badgerland Realtors offers a great 20% Buyer Rewards Program. You can use the money for whatever you want - but a lot of people use it to help with moving expenses.
Also, Badgerland can list your property for sale anywhere in the State of Wisconsin through our low-cost 3% at closing Full Service commission plan. Just let me know if we can help.
I'm guessing with a family, schools would be of utmost importance so that may be where you want to start. Commute to work (if you are relocating due to job change) also plays a factor. Realtors are a great source of knowledge about schools and communities. Once you've identified an area you want to focus on, a Realtor can not only show you every available home but they can also negotiate on your behalf in the purchase.
I would suggest you start by interviewing a few area Realtors. Once you find one you feel comfortable with they can make your transition to the area both smooth and enjoyable!
A headhunter in Milwaukee once said: It's very hard to get people to move to Milwaukee, but once they do, it's even harder to get them to leave.
You'll love it here!
Try this article for starters:
I live in Hales Corners and love it, we're close to Whitnall Park, Boerner Botanical Gardens and Wehr Nature Center, a library, school and shopping all within biking or walking distance. Whitnall School District is well regarded.
Once you find some areas you think you may be interested in, take a drive around, and ask people who live there what they like about their neighborhood.
Feel free to email or call me if you want any information about different areas - I'm pretty well-versed in libraries, parks and fun things to do in the area!