When you need to move more than just a few blocks down the road, it can almost feel like you’re heading into unknown territory. Who knows what kind of teenage gangs roam the streets after hours? And what about access to bus links, the proximity of grocery shops, and even that pub on the corner – will it not be a bit too loud on the weekends?
You want the new neighborhood to be the perfect match for your family, but how do we figure this out without having lived there for a while?
Here are a few of the best tips on how to judge an area on its neighbors, helping you to make the right kind of move.
Look for signs of vandalism
Normally, we tend to notice these signs without really trying. Random graffiti throughout the street; half a bike left abandoned with only its steering wheel still attached to the lock – and the classic fly tipping, of course, with heaps of whatever being left on the road.
Sometimes, it’s hard to spot these things when we’re focusing on the new house or the new apartment. The real estate agent you use will also determine the kind of area you end up in, though, so have a look at Joe Manausa real estate houses for sale, for example, and you’ll be off to a good start.
The area right next to the house you’ve set your eyes on may look neat and tidy, while the following streets are dodgier – and your kids will be walking through both to get to school or to visit friends.
Try to keep your eyes open when you’re driving there and turn your vandalism radar on a good ten minutes before reaching the house.
Talk to the neighbors
If everything looks safe and neat, you might as well see if some of the neighbors are home. They should have no problem with opening the door when it rings in the middle of the day if the area if friendly – and besides, it’s good to know your future neighbors in any way, right?
Explain that you’re considering moving there and just want to ask about the local amenities, the bus links, and whether it’s a lot of crime in the area. Would it be safe for your children to play at the playground with their friends after dinner time, for example?
And what about the local sports clubs, are they any good or will you have to drive your kids half an hour out just to play a round of soccer? Check out Parenting for tips on choosing the right club for your children, by the way.
These are the kind of things your neighbors should be able to answer, but try to judge the door before you ring it as well. A couple in their early twenties may not have the same standards as you, so move on to the next door and find a family to talk to.
It’s also a good idea to call up the local police station, by the way, and ask them about the crime rate in the area. They’ll be in a better position to give you a good idea of the kind of place it is than anyone else.
Use this time to investigate the surrounding area as well and get to know it before the big move. You might discover a gem of a bowling club, for example, or that the local teenagers are way more into street dancing than crime, so get to know them, and you’ll probably fall in love with your new street right away.