Moving to a nicer, quieter, and cleaner neighborhood would be the definition of a dream come true for most people. However, affluent suburbia may sometimes hide dirty secrets and have no-go areas.
You must always check out the place before moving with your family. Read on to find out how to vet any neighborhood in the US before you can start writing housewarming party invitations.
How to Check Out a Neighborhood Before Moving in
Asking your realtor about your future neighborhood seems a rational first thing to do. However, don’t forget that their primary purpose is to lease or sell the property and pocket their commission.
So, do not expect to hear anything but superlatives from them. Here are some more practical steps you can take.
- Drop in at odd times
- Check your neighbors online
- Visit local pubs and bars
- Attend community events
- Check out online media for past crimes in the area
- Watch the local real estate market
Drop in at odd times
First, pay four or five casual visits to the area at different times of day, one of them – on the weekend.
The early bird catches the worm. If you want to see if you’ll be able to crawl out of the suburb on time for work, visit the place between 6:30 and 8:00 am to check out the rush-hour traffic.
Visit the neighborhood one Saturday or Sunday in the early afternoon lest an industrious neighbor might be mowing his loan or testing out a new grinder.
The noon visit is critical if you are used to having a short afternoon nap at weekends and unnecessary if you are usually away.
Visit your future residential area at 6 or 7 pm to check out the incoming traffic. The perspective of having to dine in your car while slowly crawling on the suburb’s congested streets isn’t quite attractive.
A late evening visit will reveal if there are any party animals around whose nocturnal habits may disturb the neighborhood’s peace and quiet.
Sacrifice a Saturday night to visit the place you’ll be moving in. Keep your ears open for midnight family disputes, and watch out for brawls in front of the local bars or clubs.
Check your neighbors online
Some lease contracts include the names of your neighbors. If yours doesn’t, ask your landlord. Then, use free people search sites like Instant Checkmate or Information.com to check them out.
Pay special attention to their criminal and court records and driving history. Finding out disturbing information about your future neighbors can be a dealbreaker.
If you find out any of them has filed for personal bankruptcy, you can expect them to often ask you for small payday loans, but that’s not a dealbreaker.
Visit local pubs and bars
Checking out the local pubs and bars makes sense on Friday and Saturday evenings when they will be full. You can chat up a local or let them approach you.
The person behind the bar is the easiest to start a conversation with. Bartenders and pub-keepers usually know everything that’s going on in the area.
If you don’t drink, visit the local cafes and sweetshops on a weekend afternoon and do some exploratory socializing.
Attend community events
Visit the neighborhood’s community center and look for posts advertising oncoming community events. There, you can meet the elderly, who are the neighborhood’s living history.
They can tell you blood-chilling stories of past crimes that shook their peaceful community alongside current gossip and small news.
At community events, you can also meet hardworking dads who haven’t got the time to visit the local bar after work – farmers, shop owners, builders, and bankers.
They constitute the local economy’s backbone and can give you valuable tips on the money flows in the area.
Check out media for past crimes in the area
If you couldn’t learn much about the neighborhood’s past at the community meeting, perhaps you’ll be able to catch up at the local library.
Check out the local newspaper’s crime column for the past twelve months, and you’ll get an idea of the place’s average crime rate.
Alternatively, you can Google the neighborhood’s name and check the News section for significant economic or social events of the past few months.
As usual, crimes and celebrities make the headlines, so you’ll not miss out on their stories either. As long as you read on trusted websites, online research can save a lot of time.
Watch the local real estate market
Keep an eye on the housing prices and rents in your neighborhood. If they have been crawling up, the living standard’s high, and the place is appealing to newcomers.
Falling rents may seem a good deal initially, but cheap housing can bring in people from the lower walks of life, without steady incomes and of dubious descent.
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