Today, more people than ever are relocating. Whether they are taking a new job, following an educational opportunity, or simply making a change, there are lots of reasons for a big move. Last year, almost 9 million people moved across state or country lines!
I have endured 5 interstate moves, so I’ve got some experience with relocating. Living in a new city is a mixed bag of experience. It’s exciting and fun, but it can also be scary and lonely. One key to beating the not so fun feelings is to find the right home in the right neighborhood. Whether you care about walkability, schools, safety, or just the general feel of a neighborhood, there are lots of resources that can help you explore your new area. Here are ten to start with!
A Good Realtor
Your best resource when you’re relocating will always be an experienced Realtor. They can help you navigate your new city, match you up with neighborhoods that fit your personality and requirements, and give you great insights into the local market. They are worth their weight in gold!
If you’ve got kids, finding a good school district is always a priority. Greatschools.org is a good place to start. It will outline the district boundaries, and give you some general information about each school. It also rates schools on a 1-10 scale. The ratings are based on test scores, so they don’t show the whole picture, but it will help you parse out which schools are ideal for you.
Walkability is important to me. If you like to get places without driving, you might want to check out Walkscore.com. They rate each individual home, and even most neighborhoods, with a score from 1-100. It will also tell you exactly what is nearby an address, from grocery stores and schools to libraries and shops. It’s a great resource if you want to get a feel for a new neighborhood.
If you’re concerned about safety, Crime Reports will show you the location and general information about crimes reported in most of the country. You can search by address or zip code, and you can pan over a map to see what’s up. Family Watchdog will show you the address and personal information of any sex offender in the country. Type in your address, and you’ll see a map of information. It is overwhelming and upsetting to see, but it can be helpful as you are making up your mind.
I love virtually strolling through neighborhoods via Google Maps Streetview. It can help you get a feel for a community, and it can help you notice things you might not get from just a real estate listing. Maybe the house you like is next door to a busy store, or a dog park. It’s nice to know these things before travelling to see a property.
If you want to get a general picture of a community, check out Area Vibes. They give neighborhoods an overall Livability score, which is broken down into grades in cost of living, education, employment, and even weather.
Image from the Library of Congress