Let’s face it, after the shine of moving into your new home has worn off, it’s time to actually leave the house and get to know your new neighborhood. For the social butterfly, this is an easy step. You’ve likely already taken muffins to the neighbors, scheduled a play date for your toddler, and found your favorite coffee shop.
For those of us who need a little help venturing out, we’ve put together a quick list of easy and creative ways to get to know your neighborhood that can make the transition into your new environment a whole lot smoother.
Try these six creative ways to get to know your neighborhood:
#1. Get Lost
One of the best ways to get to know your new neighborhood when you move to a new place is to simply walk around – get a little lost even. It can be tempting to see the city through only your car window using navigation to get from point A to point B, but what’s the fun in that? Each weekend just try meandering down a new street – stop to sit in the parks and peruse the store windows. Exploring 15-30 minutes in a new direction each week will have you feeling at home in no time.
#2. Start Couponing
A new city means new experiences, but often times all the options available in a new place can seem overwhelming. To help focus your efforts, try signing up for discount marketplaces like Groupon, Scoutmob, or Thrilllist– they’ll provide you a curated list of local experiences, stores, and restaurants (often at a discount) to help explore your new neighborhood. You may even end up visiting places that long-time locals don’t know about.
#3. Chat With Your Realtor
If you’re using an experienced real estate agent they are most likely a neighborhood expert. They not only know the local market well enough to score you a great deal on your new home, but they know which local haunts are worth your while – coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques, and more. In addition to finding you a home, your realtor is there to be a neighborhood ambassador. Take the opportunity to pick their brain, or have them tour your around.
#4. Read A Ton
It may seem commonsensical, but local papers or blogs in your new town are great sources of information. Chances are there are some local events happening in your community that will get you mingling with the neighbors. These great sources of info will keep you up to date on the happenings around your neighborhood from news, to concerts, to new restaurant openings. Even if you can’t experience it all, simply knowing what’s going on around you will make you feel more at home.
#5. Start Volunteering
Truly feeling like a local in your new community can often take years. Volunteering, however, can be a great way to shorten that timeline. Try pounding the pavement on local political campaigns, or donate time supporting neighborhood food co-op or food bank.
#6. Leave Your Comfort Zone
In today’s world where so much social interaction happens in cyberspace – not face to face – people have become apprehensive about talking to their neighbors. Leave your comfort zone and introduce yourself to your neighbors right away. If you wait to long, it the situation can become awkward and you’ll settle on an impersonal waving relationship. Your neighbors have likely lived in your new city for at least a few years and are a great source of information. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation.
Author Bio: Agent Ace is a free service empowering homebuyers and sellers with the tools to identify real estate agents in their area with the most expertise to save money and time.