If you’re thinking of moving your family anywhere outside of your comfort zone, it can be an exciting adventure. The problem lies in picking a safe place where you can settle down because unless you live somewhere, you don’t really know what it’s like. For this reason, most people stay within their known areas or the places that someone they know and trust is familiar with. But even if you know the surrounding area, that doesn’t necessarily mean you know individual neighborhoods. What this all means is: If you’re looking to move, you have some research to do.
Of course, you could always rent a house in a neighborhood you’re considering, but renting usually commits you to a year at a time, and that’s a long time to stay in a place that doesn’t fit your family.
Do Some Preliminary Research Before You Decide
The first thing you want to do before thinking about moving to a new area is research the place online and talk to people who actually live there. Gathering viewpoints and opinions about what the neighborhood is like day to day will go a long way in helping you make the right decision for your family. Be sure to ask about the schools in the area, even if you don’t have school-aged children, because if the schools have favorable marks, chances are the place is family-friendly.
Check to see how strong the internet connection is in the area, where the water comes from, and the demographics of your possible neighborhoods. It’s also a good idea to see if the locale uses Nextdoor because there’s a Nextdoor racial profiling prevention program in the app that will ensure your safety and comfort with your potential new neighbors.
Talk to a Real Estate Agent or Two
Besides the people who live in and around the neighborhood you’re considering, the next best person to tell you about an area is a local real estate agent. Keep in mind, they have a vested interest in putting a positive spin on any areas they have active listings, but they also have their finger on the pulse of neighborhoods. They can give you information to help you choose which setting would fit you and your family best, giving you a good jumping point to start your research.
Be sure to use the information you learn from them as a start and back up that intel with other opinions and independent research you complete online and in person.
Chat With Others Who Know
The best way to get the real scoop on a place to live is to talk to the people who live there now or who have recently lived there. You might know someone who lived in the neighborhood 20 years ago, but a lot can happen in that time, and the landscape is likely completely different than it used to be. So, make sure the information you gather is recent and relevant to what you want in a home and the surrounding neighbors.
Visit the Area During Different Times
Once you narrow down your choices, it’s a good idea to visit the neighborhoods at different times of the day. Try first thing in the morning, mid-day, dinner time, and the evening to get a feel for the area. In addition, visit the neighborhoods on a weekday and a weekend day to observe the activity and vibe you get from the different places.
Gathering all your intel ahead of time will give you a better sense of where the best fit is for you and your family.