My suggestion? Sitting down and talking about what you want in a house and neighborhood will be a great investment of time -- usually about an hour -- and help you choose the right area for you. You may want to consider several areas as you hunt for your new home. I've got some resources to help you, and can show you how to find all sorts of information for any specific home you are considering.
This is an important decision for you, and I'm glad you're taking the time to be careful -- and happy in your new neighborhood and home!
Columbia is a great place to buy a home. You can check out this article:
One place you can check is the Howard County web site at:
Also, our real estate firm provides full reports to all of clients about schools and
areas. I recommend getting an agent that lives in Columbia because they can give you a lot
more detail about the great neighborhoods.
It should be noted that 21044 has more expensive homes. Also, you can view school information at:
Please visit our site to get more information at http://www.mdjustlisted.com
Overall, all are very good, and I wouldn't shop just by zip code alone. I would recommend narrowing down your search first by price and style of home. Then see what different areas offer you. Also, don't forget about other areas of Howard County like Ellicott City (21043, 21042), Clarksville (21029) and Elkridge (21075). Many of these areas might offer you superior options.
Let me know if I can help you further.
Find a realtor that you are confortable with - they certainly should know the areas of Columbia that have homes in your price range with the features you need.