Raquel Espejo
Raquel Espejo
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4 years ago
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How can I "really" get to know a neighborhood without moving there first?

How do you really get to know about the feel of a neighborhood before moving there yourself? My real estate agent isn't too helpful as every place has advantages and no negatives according to her. I jsut don't want to make the wrong decision and regret moving somewhere.

SO how did you get to know a neighborhood first? Did you just use the internet, relied on friends opinions?
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kevin m
kevin m
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4 years ago
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drive to the area and park then walk around and talk to the neighbors. weekday evenings, saturday am especially good. check out what type/age/condition of cars there are, who's coming and going at 7-8am, 5-6 pm and late at night. how well are the yards and houses cared for?
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j r
j r
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4 years ago
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I can't help but add that cars might not be the best measure of a neighborhood. I live in a neighborhood where we don't lock our cars or house, and I drive a 1996 Ford Escort LX Wagon with duct tape over the rocker panels where the holes were. I don't drive it because I can't afford something "better" but because in reality, that car IS better than what is on the market today. It has just as much utility as an SUV, and gets 35 city/40 highway. In fact, this car has been so good to me (about $2,000 put into it in the 8 years I have owned it, $1,400 of which was due to a fluke engine problem) that I think I will get another one this fall to replace my current one.

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Suzi Rimmer
Suzi Rimmer
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4 years ago
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Speak with the postal carrier and police or sheriffs department where it is located. They would be your best source of information. I have worked for both and trust me we/they know what is going on in the neighborhoods.

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Lana Washburn
Lana Washburn
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4 years ago
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Colleen's answer is good. Drive around. Walk around. Look. Listen. And more
specifically, check out who your immediate neighbors will be. Who their kids, and dogs are. The noise level close by. Little yappy dogs? Or big quiet ones?
Personally, I have temporarily ended up in a nice house, with tiny little endlessly yapping dogs across the street. Every move I make produces continuous yapps. I can hear the owners saying things like: 'Stop. Quiet.' All to completely no avail. So...make sure you discover your neighbors, BEFORE you sign anything. And a couple other instances where I did not find out enough...I had purchased a nice little home for me and my dog. Nice trails up back...no one had told me that the neighbor SET TRAPS up there, for coydogs... I didn't keep that house. And prior to that, in a nice old farm house made into apartments, in Vermont, I ended up with two side neighbors who loudly domestically abused each other, and the people upstairs, were arrested for smuggling drugs...they were Mexican farm workers who 'somehow' seemed to have lots of money. The INS(?)came and took them all away one evening, and I couldn't even pull into the driveway.
So...just make sure you look at every angle before you sign anything.
Good Luck.
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j r
j r
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4 years ago
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I love the little yappy dogs part. It's sooooooo true!

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Marty Remo- REMO@RE/MAX!    (E-Pro, CDPE)
Marty Remo- REMO@RE/MAX! (E-Pro, CDPE)
Real Estate Professional
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1 Replies
4 years ago
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Drive around the neighborhood! Meet the neighbors. Pop in at different times. Meet the parents at the bus stop. See what the community is all about.
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Colleen Corgan
Colleen Corgan
HotPads.com
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4 years ago
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The bus stop thing is a great idea!

Side note: Check out the bus routes in the neighborhood and see where the stops are. I once had one right in front of my house and it was not ideal- constantly people out front, sitting on the curb or using my chairs in my front lawn as the waiting area. Not their fault as that's where the bus stop was (well, the sitting on the chairs thing was), but it's definitely something to consider

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John Nails
John Nails
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4 years ago
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I use to drive a taxi for 4 months when I was laid off from my main job, you really learn the area and what places are the best or what areas to stay away from even at 4:00 in the morning, doesn't matter what color your skin is.

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A. San
A. San
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2 Replies
4 years ago
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"Steering" a buyer to or from a neighborhood is against the Realtors(r) code of ethics. There are certain things we are not allowed to say.
I suggest visiting local crime websites (police dept or government) and talking to neighbors.
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Zoe Lynn
Zoe Lynn
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4 years ago
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Suzi, since you used the word "we," I'm assuming you are a Realtor. If so, you need to go back to class. Steering is a federal violation, not a mere violation of Realtor code of ethics.

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Keara Quiroz
Keara Quiroz
Browsing Housing
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3 years ago
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Being a military home buyer I relate to this person question. Many relocation's don't get the luxury of driving around and meeting . this ia where the internet comes in. City data, great-schools, crime spot, Google maps, Google earth, a lot of phone calls, and luck comes into play. Also if your long distance real state hunting a good agent makes the difference. If yapping noisy dogs is a big concern..they can find out the outlining neighbors pets status for you. But according to the fair housing act they can not steer you in the ways of neighborhoods, or schools..However their is a way around this. You can ask them to send you homes with in your criteria that is considered the most popular communities bases up current market analyzes.This gives them an opportunity to start sending you listing to look at they feel are better suited without getting themselves into troubles. Ask your agent for a list of sub division in your desire area and any public data provided on those areas.Also again how technological savoy your agent is they can help you rule down a few houses and video tapes the communities and offer to you for viewing so you can get a better feel. Many won't but those who deal with a lot of relocators will happily do so. I have also found community forum board can be confusing but its information you didn't have access to before.

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Mark Mynhier
Mark Mynhier
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4 years ago
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Something that I found out when looking for housing here in Los Angeles (I'm moving to VA) is that you should check the schools out. See how good they do versus similar schools. Good school scores (try www.greatschools.org) show community involvement, which tends to be better neighborhoods, regardless of the income of the neighborhood. Also, if you CAN drive through, do so in the evenings on Friday and Saturday night. If things are going wrong (loud, drunken neighbors, etc.) that is when it most likely will happen. Weeknights are not so much of a guide to the neighborhood.
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Colleen Corgan
Colleen Corgan
HotPads.com
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4 years ago
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Also make sure to stop by on Thursday nights if you are in a more urban area.

I don't mind noise at all during the weekends, but sometimes I'm surprised by the amount of noise during "thirsty thursdays." Fortunately for me, it doesn't bother me much, but I know it would drive other people crazy

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John Elwell
John Elwell
Real Estate Professional
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4 years ago
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The best way is to visit it at different times of the day and the week. The atmosphere could be very different on weekends or at night. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. You never can tell from just one visit. Also, if stores, restaurants, parks, etc are near by, stop in and look around. Do all you can to get a feel for the neighborhood and all it has to offer you. Keep in mind that due to fair housing laws, there are many aspects that your agent cannot discuss with you. Those are things you can easily discover on your own either through a real visit to the area, or a "virtual" visit using the resources of the internet.

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Karin Book
Karin Book
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3 years ago
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I always knock on the doors of the neighboring houses and introduce myself. I tell them I'm considering purchasing the property next door and ask them if they are happy with the neighborhood, street, etc. You can't believe what people will tell you, good and bad. Another idea is to go grocery shopping at your usual time in the grocery store you would be using if you bought property in that neighborhood. You can tell a lot about an area just by standing in line at the check out and observing the people around you. They will be your future neighbors.

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Jackie R
Jackie R
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4 years ago
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I agree with the posting to check with the postal carrier. My husband is a postal worker and while searching for a house, we knew exactly where to stay away from. He asked alot of co-workers and he also walks different routes so he is able to see upclose how neigborhoods are maintained and what goes on during the day.

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Wane Alen
Wane Alen
Browsing Housing
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4 years ago
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If you are not in the area start to research area by address zip code what are the schools like,also check the public news papers online for anything in that area also morbid perhaps but look into the area for registered sex Offenders Living in Your Neighborhood,everything is very public to a level just punch in your engine search what you want to know and start to narrow it down!Good luck.

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mayan poet
mayan poet
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3 years ago
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Great sugestions! Here is something I did today and it really helped; I called the companies (builders) who have developments in nearby communities as well as in the one I'm interested in. It gave an idea of what their future plans are and it really helped balance my decition, call corporate offices not just sale offices. We also in the past have come by the community right when the schoolbuses come to see how children and teens behave how involved parents are etc. Also if there are churches nearby it helps to speak with someone at the church, they don't have a horse in the race and most likely will be truthful. I have also been checking the county records to see how quickly the foreclosures are selling, who is buying them etc. Good luck and many blessings in your new home.

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TMLTALKIN2YA
TMLTALKIN2YA
Browsing Housing
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4 years ago
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I TOO AGREE THAT YOU "REALLY" DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR "GETTING INTO" UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY "LIVE THERE"!! I ALSO AGREE THAT THERE ARE "MANY NEIGHBORHOOD BLOGS" IF WHEN "ASKED" WILL BE "ANSWERED" BY "HONEST RESIDENTS" WHO HAVE THE "BEST ANSWERS" YOU CAN POSSIBLY GET!! I AM FROM UPSTATE NEW YORK ~~ PLANNING TO RELOCATE TO EMERALD ISLE, NC {HOPEFULLY??} AND HAVE WRITTEN "NEIGHBORHOOD BLOGS" SEVERAL TIMES IN WHICH I WAS "ANSWERED" BY BOTH "RESIDENTS" AND "REALTORS" WHO WERE VERY "HONEST AND FORTHCOMING"!! THE "ONLY REASON" I WOULD "VISIT BEFORE PURCHASING" IS BECAUSE OF THE "OIL SPILL DISASTER" ~~ NOT FOR "FEAR OF THE AREA"!! I HAVE ALSO DONE "SO MUCH EXTENSIVE RESEARCH" ON THE INTERNET THAT I "FEEL LIKE I ALREADY LIVE THERE"!!

OF COURSE, YOU DO HAVE TO TAKE EVERY "OPINION" YOU RECEIVE WITH A "GRAIN OF SALT" AS "ONLY YOU" CAN DECIDE WHAT "NEIGHBORHOOD" WILL ULTIMATELY "MEET YOUR SPECIFIC/PERSONAL NEEDS"!! ONE THING I'VE ALSO LEARNED THROUGH THE YEARS IS THAT ~~ "YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR" ~~ IN JUST ABOUT "EVERY INSTANCE" IN THIS COUNTRY {AND OTHERS TOO I'M SURE}!! GOOD LUCK!!

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Mark N
Mark N
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3 years ago
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As a full time investor I get this question often. Here is what I do. Just before dark drive in park outside the house you want on the street you are thinking about making your home and roll down your windows and just observe. Sit there for a few minutes after dark. If you feel comfortable and safe in the neighborhood with the window down it is probably ok to buy your new home there. If you hear sirens, police cars, gun shots maybe another neighborhood would be better. If the streets are quiet you are going to feel safer. If you see a lot of kids and teenagers roaming around looking for some excitement the neighborhood and the school system may need some work. Hope this helps mark from www.sellorbuyhouses.com
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Ann Smith
Ann Smith
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3 years ago
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And if a cop car pulls up and asks you what the heck your doing there it's a good sign that they have a decent neighborhood watch program.

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Vernalie Panchame
Vernalie Panchame
Real Estate Professional
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4 years ago
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Hi Raquel,
I would like to add one more suggestion to all the great ones already posted. Try searching the neighborhood via Google Groups, Yahoo Groups etc.. You can join as some one interested in moving to the area. My neighborhood for example has various Yahoo Groups, one being a Yahoo Family group. I have to admit at times it's a bit catty with opinions "being green", save the trees etc... but over all anyone would see we are an involved community who care about improvements in quality of life. Play groups, barter of kids items, farmers market items, concert at the park, sublets for out of town guests, etc... are discussed.
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Colleen Corgan
Colleen Corgan
HotPads.com
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4 years ago
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that's a good idea! There are tons of specific neighborhood blogs too. You can learn a lot about a place based on what the actual residents there write

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Peter Testa
Peter Testa
Real Estate Professional
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3 years ago
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Spend some time in the area. Walk, jog or bicycle there. You can see more when you are not in a car. Sundays a lot of people are home so that's always a good day to do it. Observe the condition of the properties in the area. Shop or browse some of the stores in the neighborhood. Check the local Sex Offender Registry online... and the best determining factor for me would be DON'T MAKE EXCUSES FOR SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T LOOK RIGHT - ALWAYS GO WITH YOUR GUT.

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Robert Thomas
Robert Thomas
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3 years ago
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Take a few days off from work. Stay in a nearby hotel and venture into the area at different times of the day and night. Go into the shops or parks etc.. If there is an event there go to the event and see what the people are like and how they treat you. Take any opportunity that you can to speak to whomever you encounter. It's like being one of those mystery shoppers.

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laurie bowling
laurie bowling
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3 years ago
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The best way I've found is crimemapping.com. Type in address then reset date span in 30 day increments to have a real view of the area. Also, sight allows you to take span up to 2 miles from address of interest. This has saved me from making some real poor realestate choices. Good luck to all. LB

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Marianne Spreeman
Marianne Spreeman
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3 years ago
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I would say, so a LOT of research before buying a house. I moved out of the city to a small community, and am now miserable and looking to buy a house outside of the town on 3 acres. I never had problems with my neighbors in the two big cities I lived in, but here it has been awful. What is most upsetting is that I somewhat knew the people I bought the house from, and my best friend lives across the street, and nobody told me what I was moving into....on one side of me is a family with a 16 year old son, who is disturbed, and has caused property damage to my house and fence, but the parents don't offer to compensate or take responsibility. I have had the sheriff at my house because of that kid, and also the one on the other side of me was messing with my property. Looking back, I wish I would have went to the local restaurant. convenience store, bar, etc. and talked to people, because the 16 year old next door is well known in town for his issues. Therefore, my advice is to get as much information about the neighbors and neighborhood as you can. I live this house and planned on staying here forever, but I have a 10 year old daughter, and am worried about what he may do one day. Good luck!!
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Marianne Spreeman
Marianne Spreeman
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3 years ago
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Oh forgot to mention in above comment, that the family next to me with the 16 year old boy....we had become friendly shortly after moving in. AFTER moving in, I heard stories about him, but believed in giving him the benefit of the doubt, and forming my own opinion. For almost 3 years things were ok, although the 16 year old felt free to go in my backyard repeatedly, and then leave the gate open so my dogs would get out, there was no property damage until last year, and this year. Hate the thought of moving, but am sick of living by people like this.

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Joe and Marsha  Fagnani
Joe and Marsha Fagnani
Landlord
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3 years ago
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Go there. During the day, in the evening. If you have children, check out the schools, etc. Go to the local post office, grocery store, neighborhood park, etc. Find out as much as possible yourself and always trust your instinct. Good luck!

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Brad MacLay
Brad MacLay
Real Estate Professional
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3 years ago
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As a real estate Broker myself I think you would be wise renting for a short time and meet some friends in your new city. These new friends will tell you where you don't want to live. And then you will be able to narrow down your search. REMEMBER: your real estate agent isn't supposed to tell you where you want to live - it's the other way around.

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Ellen Crusoe
Ellen Crusoe
Real Estate Professional
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3 years ago
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A Real Estate Agent is in the position where they cannot steer you to or away from any neighborhood. I always suggest to my clients that they drive the neighborhood at different times on different days. Gives you a good feel for what the neighborhood is like. Make sure you change the times and days as neighborhoods can change dramatically from weekdays to weekends and daytime to nighttime. I also strongly suggest calling the local police department and ask about the number of calls they receive from that neighborhood. This is public information and should give you great insight. Good luck and make sure you do your research. Everyone has a different idea about the perfect neighborhood for their family.

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c cunha
c cunha
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3 years ago
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drive through the neighborhood constantly. Look at the yards, fences, playground. Are they well kept???? not so much how much $ was spent on making them look nice but is there garbage laying around or does the community take pride in where they live? Check out the schools ratings, go to a PTA meeting at the school see how many parents are involved in the school. are there any teachers at the PTA meeting? Is the principal at the school well liked and respected. Are there small children walking around unattended or is someone (a parent, older silbling, neighbor) waiting at the bus stop for them, playing catch w them, helping them to ride their bikes. all this will make you feel like somewhat of a stalker but you want the right neighborhood right & finding it is another full time job. I'm doing all this right now to find the right home for my family altho I'm all ready involved in the districts school system so I know the schools are good.

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A. Windfield
A. Windfield
Browsing Housing
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3 years ago
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If you are concerned about crime in particular I would suggest going to crimemapping.com and typing in the address to see how safe the area is.

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Joyce Begg
Joyce Begg
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3 years ago
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You can get a tour of a community from a real estate consultant on a daily or weekly basis. The fee depends on the abount of time you schedule for with the consultant specialist in a particular area.
I am a consultant in the Mercer County, New Jersey area please contact me 609-658-5839 if I can be of help

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Mary Gilmartin
Mary Gilmartin
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3 years ago
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Great ideas! Supermarket and local church,temple, etc are very good sources. If you have pets talk to the local vet. While you are there you will also meet other pet owners. Check out what kind of programs are on the local cable tv station. You can find town newspapers at many local stores. These provide neighborhood news in detail. Visit a local restaurant and watch and listen. Visit the town hall. Introduce yourself to the town clerk or town manager. Ask for town budget info. Look at announcements. Finally, talk to the police.
Mary G.

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Marilynn Stephens
Marilynn Stephens
Landlord
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3 years ago
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As owner/manager of extended stay furnished rentals, I can state first hand that living in the neighborhood for a short period of time will give you the best feel for the neighborhood you are considering. The fun part is that I live in the same neighborhood as my furnished homes, and have gathered some neighbors around me who ultimately purchased in the neighborhood.

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JOHN TOMASIN
JOHN TOMASIN
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3 years ago
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There are some great new neighborhood and street advice sites, with thousands of reviews from locals about what it is like to there. One is called www.streetadvisor.com, walkscore.com is another.
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Gabriel Baldinucci
Gabriel Baldinucci
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2 years ago
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nabewise.com is actually the best of these...

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Jason Beauford
Jason Beauford
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3 years ago
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If you want to get to know the neighborhood, one thing that is definitely a sure tell sign of the type of people you'll be living around is to visit the local supermarket. Those are the people that live in your community and those are the people you'll be interacting with. You can tell a lot from your local supermarket, trust me.

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Tony  Pearce
Tony Pearce
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3 years ago
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As a Police Officer, the answer is simple. GO TO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, AND ASK QUESTIONS. Most Officers will give it to you straight, and help you with any questions you have about, CRIME, SCHOOLS,PLAYGROUNDS, and so forth.

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Amanda Beckstead
Amanda Beckstead
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3 years ago
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Call the local Police department and see what areas seem to be troublesome. Whether it be due to noise or violence or the neighbors that fight with their significant other. The police department is more then willing to tell you problem areas in their district

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Nathan Robinson
Nathan Robinson
Browsing Housing
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3 years ago
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If you living in the same area, i will say drive by to see the area. now if you are a relo. i will say do more research on the area, such as ratio of crime rate, google around the area with map search looking for the businesses around the area that will give some ideal of the location. best of all is for you to make a trip before you move or mail the deposit to a totally stranger. if to visit before you move is not the option. you might want to try have friends, or family member take a look the place for you. beware of scam. dont be the next victim.

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Boris Russanov
Boris Russanov
Real Estate Professional
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3 years ago
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Nobody will help you to find "the right neighborhood". You have to come over and take a look by yourself.

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cindy munoz
cindy munoz
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3 years ago
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If you have school age kids check if the local schoool is having an event and attend. if one ist planned attend a school board meeting, attend a city council meeting, see what are the concerns of the community.community events are year round.and chat up with postal carrier, ups guy and meter readers.walk a dog at different times, see who is out and about. attend a church, take kids to the local park.Be friendly like u already belong. local papers help. mornings at the local donut shop. it all works.

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Robyn Buck
Robyn Buck
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2 years ago
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I agree with whatever answers youve had.. I live in an area where one block is good and the next block is terrible. What I did was I went on google earth and theres a crime tab you can press and it will light up green for none, yellow for mild, orange for moderate, and red for high crime. What I was told and what i found on this were two different stories. It has what has happened and when on the black dots. Then Id look to see how many properties are for sale in an area. In a really nice area, Ive come to find that a property for sale is rare, because if someone IS selling, it sells quick.

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Gebra Godoy
Gebra Godoy
Real Estate Professional
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3 years ago
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What I usually do is I go to the neighborhood during different times of the day specially weekends. You can tell if you're going to like the area by doing that. If you're not shy ask a couple of neighbors you'll be amazed at what they'll tell you.

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crystal evans
crystal evans
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2 years ago
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Call the police department and they will give you a report on criminal activity in the area. Neighbors are also a great resource. If there is a store near the area it couldn't hurt to stop in and ask the cashier what they've heard about it.

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Gabriel Baldinucci
Gabriel Baldinucci
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2 years ago
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the best way is to use nabewise.com

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ADRIA KREGG
ADRIA KREGG
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2 years ago
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I HAVE LEARNED TO CHECK THE NEIGHBORHOOD THOROUGHLY BEFORE MOVING IN BECAUSE I HAVE MADE THE MISTAKE OF MOVING INTO A HOME THAT HAD PRIOR BREAK-INS. NEEDLESS TO SAY THE REALTOR FAILED TO TELL ME AND MY HOME WAS BROKEN INTO WITHIN FIVE MONTHS OF LIVING THERE. I MOVED IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARDS. ALSO ITS GOOD TO CHECK THE NEIGHBORHOOD NEXT TO THE ONE YOU WANT CONSIDER BECAUSE THE THUGS AND CRIMINALS THAT BROKE IN STAYED IN SOME APARTMENTS BEHIND MY HOME. DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY THEY BUILD NICE HOMES WITHIN A TRASHY COMMUNITY

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Nancy Chenevey
Nancy Chenevey
Browsing Housing
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2 months ago
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You can call the local sheriff or police department and ask for the crime rates there, and how they compare to other neighborhoods. If you have children, schedule visits at several schools in the area to compare them.

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