If and when you decide you are ready to buy a home, connect with a Buyers agent who will guide you through the entire process the financial needs, finding the right home for YOU, showing homes, writing the offer on your behalf and negotiating all the terms including price and then guiding you through the entire process up to the closing like inspections and their issues etc. As for the neighborhood, most if not all information you may be
interested in you can probably find on the internet most towns have their own websites, stop by the local police department, once decided on a home, chat with the neighbors, drive through the area at different times or days of the week, and get a feeling for whether a certain area is right for YOU.... remember what
you consider friendly someone else may not. It is a very individual need....
I hope this helps a little.... The internet truly will be a good source for many items you are looking for.
Take care and good luck!
Edith YourRealtor4Life! and Chicago and Northern Illinois Expert
Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients.....