When the official time to move into a new home arrives, you want to do all the research you can to identify the best home for your needs. But it’s not just the house search you’ll want to be diligent about when you begin.
You’ll also need to do a little research about the community you want to move to.
Finding out more about the community you plan to join may be a step you take before you start looking for homes for sale. Your absolute dream home could turn into a nightmare if it is in a less-than-ideal neighbourhood.
Reviewing ratings by zip code and other indicators will help you in your research to identify the best community for you.
Check if there is a community website
Almost every town and municipality has a dedicated website. Not all of these sites are super informative, but they can provide insight into local parks and recreation, local event calendars, and governing bodies.
An up-to-date website indicates that the area of your choice is developing well, and the community is proud to live there.
Review the schools and daycare providers
If your family structure includes young children, you may want to do extensive preliminary research on the safety and visibility of local schools near your new home. You may try to connect with other parents in the area to receive their general feedback.
You will also need to find a reliable daycare centre in the area. You can use various childcare apps to browse different options, check opinions, work hours, and everything you may require to keep your child occupied while you work.
Explore the neighbourhood
Don’t be afraid to visit the area and explore the neighbourhood on foot. If the pavements are not well kept, or there aren’t enough places to get to on foot, you will probably be driving most of the time.
If you are browsing homes for sale online, it is unlikely that you will see the eyesore of a building along the street that you would know if you walked around on your own. Stepping on-site is a great way to survey an area’s overall look and feel before investing in it.
Moving also means getting a new commute. If the place you have your eye on is outside the metropolitan area, you may want to experience the drive yourself. Spend a day driving to and from the office, grocery store, or other hotspot.
Check out the peak commuting hours to get a good idea of morning and evening traffic in your new zip code. Googling distances online will only show you miles.
Actually, driving will give you an idea of how much time you need to be in the car.
Research the crime rates
Buying a house with bad neighbours is one problem. But purchasing a home in an overall questionable neighbourhood is another.
Crime statistics are important, especially if you plan to relocate families with children, and several excellent information sites specialise in reporting crime indicators.
Remember to keep the data in context when comparing community population densities; no city is 100% safe. But these statistics are something you want to know before deciding if an area is safe enough for you and your family.
Join Community Facebook Groups
Find some local Facebook groups developed for the area you are considering to discover the good, the bad, and the ugly. There, you will be able to find answers to all kinds of questions–from parade start times to the location of citywide garage sales.
And while you will need to weed out unpopular opinions, you will certainly get a better sense of community by exploring these neighbourhood Facebook groups.
You can also search within the groups for keywords such as “new to the area” and look through past conversations to gain insight.
It is also a great place to find opinions on local house removals specialists so you can then more easily make an informed decision should you decide to settle in the area.
Check local media and newspapers
Another method is checking local newspapers, whether in print or online.
For example, you can find non-profit businesses and charities in the area. They also have articles and lists of school events, seasonal festivals, farmers’ markets, etc.
Most neighbourhood newspapers also include local statistics that may be helpful in the home-buying process.
Newspaper publication may seem outdated, but it is still a great way to get a sense of how the community in the area lives and keep up with local happenings.
Talk to residents who live there
Sometimes the best way to get genuine feedback about a particular community’s lifestyle and amenities is to talk to those who live there.
Before you even consider moving, find people you know in the area or perhaps a friend of a friend.
Even if you don’t have any, just randomly meeting people in the street may provide the opportunity for a lighthearted conversation that will give you a lot of insight.
Research the property value trends
Currently, the housing market is hot, and many people are exploring options for selling or buying elsewhere.
However, property value trends over the past few years are important and can help you learn about the neighbourhood you are considering. See if the area has experienced growth or if property values have declined over time.
There are many real estate apps and sites that share these value indicators. You can also compare listings of other homes for sale on the same block or street.
If property values in an area significantly drop, indicating that people are moving away, it could be a sign that the community is underfunded. This naturally affects parks, schools, and other programs in the area.
Such historical trends could mean that the site is a bad neighbourhood. But knowing these details may sway your decision to move there.
Another option is to contact local removals company to get a feel of their busy schedules. If many people are moving house in the area, that is a good indicator that it is active.
Following these steps, you can narrow down the list of neighbourhoods that you want to move in and start your new life.
While no particular method can guarantee that the area you chose is good or bad, finding numerous red or green flags will easily sway your decision.