7 Ways to Find a Great House in a New Town

Moving to a new town can be a great opportunity to move ahead at work. Once you’re there, you’ll want to settle in and focus on the job. But you’ll need to come home at night, and location is everything. Choosing a new neighborhood in an unfamiliar town can be tough. Here are a few tips that can help:

  1. Make a list. What do you care about most? Do you like to walk to the grocery store? Need a gym with extended hours? Do you need sidewalks for easy dog walking or nearby trails for jogging? Make a list and share it with your real estate agent. 
  2. Do some walking. If you want to get a real feel for a neighborhood, walk around. You’ll see things you might not notice from the car, like how long it really takes to get to the grocery store on foot, and how much time the neighbors spend outside.
  3. Consider the commute. Will you drive, bike, walk, or take public transportation to work? Make the trip a few times and see how long it takes and how it feels to you.
  4. Ask a friend from home to take a look. Head to your new town for the weekend, and bring a friend whose opinion you trust from your old town. You’ll have a great time exploring, and they might notice things you haven’t.
  5. Make a new friend. Sooner or later (sooner is better), you’ll make a friend or three outside of work. Go sit in a coffee shop, try out a local gym, or seek out a volunteer opportunity. People love to talk about where they live, and almost anyone you meet will be happy to answer your questions and give you their opinions.
  6. Find the neighborhood on the web. These days, a lot of neighborhoods can be found on social media. If you can find a neighborhood on Facebook, see who posts and what they care about. One caveat: Some neighborhood pages are brutal, driven by a loudmouth minority, when the neighborhood actually has plenty of normal people, just like you.
  7. Ask your realtor to show you some options. Most realtors are happy to give you a driving tour of the town. You’ll see how different neighborhoods connect to each other, your office, and restaurants and shops. Look out the window and ask a lot of questions.

Now that you’ve settled on a neighborhood, it’s time to get practical. Get pre-approved for a loan and hit the ground running...or biking, if you prefer!