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A New Local Community

May 29, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

You are not just signing up to own a house; you are also inducted into a new environment. New schools, a new local community, local religious organizations and your immediate neighbors, you have to feel comfortable within the new setting that is outside of your home.

If you found the perfect house, how do you know that the neighborhood and neighbors are satisfactory? One reliable source is your real estate agent, but you need to do some personal research as well. Your real estate agent can lead you to reliable sources that can give you information on a prospective neighborhood. Your agent wants you to form your own opinions. 

If you are not working with an agent, you can visit the local neighborhood and community associations for information. To find these sources, visit the city or municipal website. Or you may find that the neighborhood and community groups have their own established websites.

It is likely that if a neighborhood has a community association, the surrounding neighbors care about the community in which they live. The community association most likely deals with community issues and protecting the neighborhood. The people within the association can be good sources to tell you about the local neighborhood. After a few testimonies you can make a solid decision about the neighborhood.

The easiest route to take is to take a drive around the neighborhood. Travel to the neighborhood during the day and night, and make trips during different times of the week. You might find that a neighborhood is docile during the weekdays, but becomes rowdy during the weekends. If you are looking for an area that has a lot going on, and plenty of attractions, you might find that the prospective neighborhood isn’t alive enough for you. A trip to your neighborhood at night can show you if there is the presence or absence of working streetlights, which can help you to make a solid decision.

Pay attention to the public areas. Are the local schools satisfactory? Could living near a school or college present certain parking problems or unwanted noise? Before looking to move into a chic downtown home, question if you are safe walking at night or if you are comfortable with the noise levels.

If there is no community association, you can talk to the individuals who are on the street. Some people will not be too open about giving you accurate information. But, if you search you might be able to find a person who is willing to talk with you about the current status of the neighborhood. Ask about troublesome neighbors, this is especially important because you don’t want to live next door to the troublemaker!

If you are concerned about the crime rate within a prospective neighborhood, contact the local police department and ask about the recent crime trend of the community. You also may want to ask if there are any neighborhood watch programs established to keep the community safer.

Although outside sources can be very helpful, nothing beats your careful watch. Make sure you take frequent trips to the neighborhood and be observant. Is there a business that keeps the neighborhood streets busy during the day? Are there train tracks close to the home, bringing about disturbing noise? Biking or walking through the neighborhood is a better way of assessing if the community fits your needs. Taking a slower trek will allow you to get more close and personal with the surrounding area.

Yes, your job is to check out the home, but it is just as important to understand if the local community will be a right fit for you.

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