Apartment Living

Looking to Move Soon? Top 5 Ways to Scope Out Your Future Neighborhood

Looking to Move Soon? Top 5 Ways to Scope Out Your Future Neighborhood

There’s nothing worse than moving to a new apartment and realizing you’ve made a mistake.

Maybe you overlooked the fact that your neighbor has several yappy dogs. Or perhaps your building is in an area that’s busier than you thought because you initially saw the apartment on a quiet Saturday morning.

Planning a move involves more than just looking inside the apartment and signing a lease. Put on your detective hat and get the full picture of what your new apartment building and surrounding area looks like.

Here are five ways to scope out your future neighborhood.

1. Do multiple drive-bys

You never really get a full picture of what the neighborhood looks like until you see it at all times of the day.

Daniel Park of Shadowlawn Properties says, “Drive by multiple times and during different times of the day. It may look a lot different when that junior high down the street lets their students out.”

Seeing the neighborhood multiple times could help you better understand things like:

  • The traffic: How bad is it during commuting hours?
  • Street parking: Is it impossible or easy?
  • Nearby shops, restaurants, bars, cafes: What is the noise level like?

There might also be circumstances that are unique to the particular area you want to live in. For example, San Francisco is known for its microclimates. Moving from one part of town to another may mean the difference of cold, foggy days vs. sunny ones.

2. Talk to the neighbors

guy with love your neighbor hat

Did you know that almost a third of Americans have never met their neighbors? Make it a point to talk to the people walking around in your future neighborhood. Some easy giveaways for people who live in the area include people walking with dogs or pushing strollers.

Check out the shops, parks and cafes nearby and strike up a conversation. If you want to take it one step further, you can hang around outside your new building and catch people on their way out. Ask them how they like living there and if they feel safe.

3. Do a safety check

There are plenty of apps and websites that you can access for free that will alert you of crime and sex offenders in an area.

Park recommends checking out a website called Megan’s Law to see if there are any sex offenders in your area. “Also, check the local police website. In Los Angeles, for example, they keep a list of crimes, the degree of the offense and date it occurred.”

Here are more helpful resources for safety:

NextDoor A private social network to give you the latest about your area, including safety tips
CrimeReports A map-based site that shows you recent data on crimes that in your area
Family WatchDog Pinpoints the addresses of registered sex offenders in your neighborhood
AreaVibes Provides a livability score for your ZIP code which ranks your area on 7 factors that include housing, amenities, education and crime

4. Rent an Airbnb


Checking into an Airbnb for a few nights is a great option if you don’t live nearby and can’t drive by multiple times during the week. This is also a great excuse to have a staycation while gaining first-hand experience living in the neighborhood.

Consider staying in an Airbnb from the weekend to weekday. That way, you can get a taste of what the area is like on the weekends vs. commuting on a Monday morning.

5. Use Yelp and Google

Get on Yelp and do a search based on your new address and open up the map view of restaurants, bars, grocery stores or any place that you would normally frequent.

Whether you want to be closer to shops and restaurants or get away from the congestion, Yelp will give you a good idea of what’s around your area.

You can also use your new address and pop it into Google. Then click on Google’s street view. The photos you see could be recent or old, but it’ll show you what the neighborhood looks like, including the street parking situation.

Weigh the pros and cons

If you happened to discover something alarming or unexpected, weigh out the pros and cons. Maybe you’re sensitive to noise and noticed the quiet-looking bar down the street turns into a frat house every night. Be picky and prioritize the things that are important to you.

Take notes, snap photos with your phone and go over everything with your roommates, partner and friends.

Published at Tue, 11 Feb 2020 13:05:29 +0000