When moving or buying in a new area, especially an area that you have never been to before, it is extremely important to do thorough research. Whether it's the location of a new job, home, or even just a neighborhood you are interested in buying in, you will benefit greatly by reviewing the neighborhood's crime rates, schools, restaurants or even just grocery stores. Check out our 10 tips to experience and be knowledgeable about an unknown city before moving.
1. Scroll Through Social Media Outlets and Communities
Do not underestimate the power of using social media websites to better understand cities’ communities and culture. By following and monitoring local community organizations, family-owned restaurants or cultural pages, potential future buyers can garner a sense of what day-to-day life is like in these communities. This is more of an organic approach to understanding the general atmosphere of a neighborhood.
2. Communicate With Your Friends and Family
Asking for help or feedback from loved and trusted family members and friends about a specific neighborhood can be very helpful. Even though the buyer’s decisions are ultimately the most important, listening to their opinions about certain neighborhoods and homes can bring to light things that you may have not noticed yourself. Not only that, your loved ones have a better understanding of your interests and lifestyle compared to people on the internet.
3. Try Taking Your Potential Daily Commute
Take your potential daily work commute! Drive to and from your future places of employment, the traffic could potentially be a nightmare in your new city. It is advised to take the trip at least once or twice before committing to the property. This gives you first hand experience and knowledge of what your commute will be for years to come.
4. Ask Locals Your Questions
The best way to get the most genuine feel for an unknown area before buying is to visit the area at varying days and times. Shop at the local stores, grocery stores, restaurants and even coffee shops located close to the property you are thinking about buying. When visiting these shops, ask the local owners and shoppers about the neighborhood and what they enjoy most about it.
5. Check Out Local Newspapers and Stats
Reviewing paper and digital local newspapers can often give you great insight into a community. Look into the local nonprofit sector vibrancy, as well as the local school systems’ student population trends.
6. Play Out a Day-In-The-Life of Your Future Self
The only way to truly understand a new location is to pretend to live an average future day in your life there. When living out your mock day, visit and meet local people doing mundane, daily activities. Interact with people on their way to the gym, work, shops, or even just basic errands. It may not give you a complete understanding of the vibe of the neighborhood, but it will at least give you a better idea of what you will be committing to. After 24 hours leaving the area, ask yourself: can you envision yourself enjoying your life in this new city?
7. Spend Time in The Neighborhoods of The Houses You Are Interested In
Once you find a house you are interested in, you should visit the area during different dates and times to gage an accurate representation of what the community is truly like. Try to talk to your potential future neighbors, ask them about their thoughts on the community and the neighborhood. Most people would be happy to share their thoughts and their opinions to help you in deciding.
8. Speak With Property Managers
If you are planning to rent a property, it is always a good idea to speak to the property managers of the homes you are interested in leasing. Ask them about the general area, community, and what their favorite nearby spots are.
9. Talk To Your Future Neighbors
If possible, try and communicate to future neighbors and current occupants in the neighborhood you are planning to move into. Neighbors are usually eager and enthusiastic to speak with you about what they like and dislike about your future neighborhood. They may also have specific information regarding the house you are interested in.
10. Get a Short-Term Rental
Staying at a short-term rental can help you form a first-hand opinion on the city you are contemplating moving into. If you are able to, stay in a short-term rental for a couple of months to experience and explore the city of your choice. Oftentimes a city will completely transform at nighttime, staying in a short-term rental allows you to experience the diverse energies in the neighborhood.