It is a common misconception that a REALTOR can recommend a neighborhood. Recommending a neighborhood is a fair housing violation.
I can’t imagine choosing a school based upon a Realtor’s recommendation. Most of us are not experts when it comes to education but since you asked my own children did well in the public schools but they learned a lot at home too.
Often home buyers will ask if a house is in a “decent” neighborhood. REALTORS can not answer that question, and “decent” is pretty vague. There are people who tell me that a neighborhood is “bad”. Like “decent”, “bad” can mean just about anything.
There are homebuyers who choose neighborhoods based on what they can afford or how close it is to where they work or to family or to a place of worship.
Some homebuyers can choose any neighborhood while others can only afford the houses in a couple neighborhoods. People with more money have more choices.
There are people who want to live in walkable neighborhoods but I have found that definitions of walkable vary considerably. For me, anything within a mile is within easy walking distance. If I didn’t have a car I could get by pretty easily on foot, or by bike or public transportation, or Lyft.
REALTORS can not “steer” people into a neighborhood or recommend a neighborhood.
The restaurants and shops that I like might not be the same as the ones that you like yet I am expected to make recommendations.
There are plenty of resources and maps on the internet that provides useful information that can help home buyers choose a neighborhood. Driving, biking, or walking through a neighborhood can help buyers narrow the search. Some homebuyers research schools before choosing a neighborhood while others look at crime rates.
The City of St. Paul website has neighborhood information. Each neighborhood has a district council. Learning more about the neighborhood council is a great way to learn more about the neighborhood.
When choosing a neighborhood is important to consider housing stock in that neighborhood. People looking to buy a rambler should not be looking in the downtown area and people looking for a Victorian-era Queen Anne style might find one in Highland Park but there are so few that the likelihood of finding one on the market is slim.
I definitely know people who love St. Paul but they have only experienced a small part of it. It is the same for some of the people who don’t like it.