We all know how difficult it is to find a place we feel at home. So, before you move into your next rental or purchase property, let's explore! You will never regret taking this small step towards finding the perfect neighborhood that suits you and your family members who need an extension from life too often. Explore different areas around town until something catches your eye; if there are certain places where people seem happy, then perhaps they should be visited first.
Before you go
Dig into Google
The neighborhood must be right when looking for a place to call home. But how do we know if our new city or town has excellent spots? You can find some information on Google, so tap the name of the city or area you are interested in living in. Then, check StreetAdvisor, which is dedicated to neighborhood reviews and information. We'd also suggest checking out neighborhood details on Yelp.
Lurk on the local Facebook page
Joining Facebook groups is one way to tap into your community and learn about what's happening in the area. These social media sites have many local pages or discussion forums that can provide information specific to demographics such as parents with toddlers, business owners, etcetera.
Investigate Instagram tags
There's no better way to get an idea of what life is like in any given neighborhood than by looking at the photos and videos shared on Instagram. If you're moving locally, use hashtags like # relocation,# localbusinesses, or even search via location! These can be used both while exploring new places before and after arriving.
Research the rental and real estate markets
Whether you want to rent or buy, it makes sense to research the real estate and rental market where you might be moving. Suppose you want to start with renting but plan to buy eventually. You'll want to know how prices in the neighborhood line up with market averages -- and if you're planning on buying, you still want to understand the rental market in case you ever want to put your house on Airbnb for the weekend or rent out a room in your home. If you don't know where to start here, there are a ton of websites -- some more reliable than others -- where you can find market statistics, but to get the real scoop on what the markets are like, find a trustworthy real estate agent and ask them for help.
Set up alerts for listings
Start looking at home, apartment, or condo listings - whether for rent or sale- to get an idea of what you'll have to pay and how ample the space is. You can access these sites through several websites, just like this one. To be up to date, contact me directly or sign-up to receive the newest home alerts.
Learn about the neighborhoods
Big cities have numerous neighborhoods where you might find happiness, so take some time to learn which communities seem most promising to you and which ones you want to avoid.
Some neighborhoods or towns even have their websites, and you can learn a lot about your potential new area by reading over those or checking out local blogs -- tap into the power of the internet to start narrowing your search.
When you spot the most exciting places, go there to see what they look like.
Rent an Airbnb in the area
Before you move, it's usually a good idea to spend some time in the new locale to decide whether it's really for you before you invest in moving there. Hotels are great, but to get a true sense of what it's like to live there, rent an Airbnb or another vacation rental so that you'll be staying in an actual residence like the one where you might live. This will give you plenty of opportunities to figure out where the local grocery store is, how to get to the park, the best route to work, and more.
During your stay
Read the local paper
Not every area has one, but if the place where you're considering relocating does, then there's almost no asset as valuable to a move as the local newspaper. Read it online (you may have to subscribe, but it's well worth the price if only to take a look at the classified section -- yes, it still exists!) or get a print copy if you can, but take the time to look through the paper cover-to-cover as often as you can. Even if you're not that into sports, learning about how the city or town where you're moving feels about its major league teams (and whether you can expect heavy traffic on game days) can be helpful. Even if you're not usually a reader of the lifestyle section, it can also give you essential insight into how other citizens and community members in the area spend their time.
Dining in a few restaurants
Combine the pleasant with the useful, that is, fill your belly when you check out the local cuisine, the quality of the restaurants, and the people who go to them. The kind of environment you'll be in is essential. As you eat your meal, ask yourself if you already feel like a local or an intruder. Is the food tasty and would you go here again?
Study traffic patterns and public transportation
If you're used to a short commute to work, you don't want to move into a new house in a new area only to discover that it will take 90 minutes to get to the office and back again. Before you buy take some time to learn about the traffic patterns and public transportation where you're moving so that you can be prepared for your trips to work, buy groceries, attend school, go to the gym, or perform any other necessary tasks that help make your life (or health) easier.
Take a walk
By carefully walking, you can quickly see how far away it is, for example, the first store, school, kindergarten and other things you need. In addition, whether the neighborhood is safe and pedestrian-friendly.
Examine the cost of living
The real estate market is just one of many factors that will influence your monthly expenses; you'll also want to look into other cost-of-living factors, like the price of gas, public transportation, utilities (electricity, gas, water, and internet providers), and even the average cost of groceries, which can vary from state to state and city to city. It might seem like moving to a more rural area is an excellent way to save money, but if the cost of healthcare and groceries is higher than you're used to paying, then maybe it's not such a great deal after all -- make sure you understand what you're getting into before you move.
Relocating is an adventure, which can be inherently stressful if you don't entirely know what to expect. So before you relocate, do your research -- you'll be much happier with the home you end up renting or buying if you're able to sink your teeth into your new locale before you drop hard-earned money on a deposit or down payment.