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.