If you're not familiar with an area that you might be interested in, here are some tips for you.
VISIT THE NEIGHBOURHOOD ON FOOT. Take a walk through the neighbourhood and talk to people, you'd be suprised as to what you might find out, people like to talk. By talking to speople, you can get a sense of the friendliness of the community, but also as to whether there are any surprises that nobody advertises. A local haunted house, former grow houses, neighbours from hell.....you get the idea.
Drive by at 7:30 in the morning to see how many school buses are picking up children, get a sense if it's a young family community or a more mature community. You can also tell how long it may take to you commute to work during the rush hour.