6 Unique Things to Do When Scouting A New Place to Live

Chances are, being in the military has given you a good sense of what it’s like to adapt and overcome a move to a new city. However, if you’re separating from the military for the first time or retiring, you’ll soon find out that moving in the civilian world is a whole new ball game. Without the support of a sponsor or the local base housing office, moving on your own can be a daunting experience. The good thing is, with a bit of creativity, you can scout for a new place to live and gather the facts that are most important to your family and make an informed decision about your move.

Search Your Neighborhoods of Interest for an In-depth Analysis

One of the worst things that could happen is settling into a neighborhood that was not what you expected. That’s why it is so important to do thorough research both on and off the internet. On the internet, there are sites like Trulia that allow you to not only search for a home but also pull up information about nearby school districts and crime rates. You also can go right to the source and simply stop by the city police department. They will be able to provide you information and resources about crime reports, registered offenders, and more.

Use Your Realtor as a Resource

You may be dead set on a particular neighborhood, but keep an open mind and ask your realtor for suggestions. Unless you have previously lived in the area, no one can gauge 100% of their living experience based on online research.

Remember that real estate agents are not only there to help you buy a home, but to also truly advise you every step of the way. They know the area better than most and know common pitfalls that buyers make. Ask your real estate agent about the proposed area or if they can suggest other areas near you. By doing this, you may find a hidden gem or save thousands on your rent or mortgage.

Consider Staying in an Airbnb Temporarily

Are you visiting your potential city to search for homes? It is a good idea to search for Airbnb properties in or near the proposed area to “live like a local” during your home search as opposed to a hotel. An Airbnb property will essentially allow you to pretend that you are a local in the area without the commitment. Also, you’ll get a good sense of the area, check distance for your work commute (if you have one) and assess livability.

Join Facebook Groups

If the military has taught you anything, it’s that Facebook groups can be your best resource. The same is true in the civilian world. Many neighborhoods and towns have an online community on Facebook to exchange information or sell things. Consider joining these groups to meet new friends, network for jobs, or find off-the-beaten-path things to do in your new city. If the group is closed, just let the administrators know that you’re interested in moving and they’ll likely let you join.

Visit Your Local Tourism Bureau

Have you ever thought to stop by your tourism bureau or Chamber of Commerce? They can be an excellent resource to find things to do in your new area. Visitors Bureaus always have updated information about what to see, do, and eat as well as a calendar of events for your family to enjoy. They can also tell you what events are free and let you know what discounts you’re entitled to as military or as a county resident.

Speak to the Locals

When in doubt, don’t be afraid of a little face-to-face interaction to get a local’s perspective and some candid advice. If you’re viewing a home and see a neighbor cutting grass or walking the dog, consider taking the time to speak to them. They’ll know if there are families with kids the same age as yours, what the schools are like, and might even have some information about the house you’re looking at.