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Old 08-04-2014, 12:56 PM
 
1 posts, read 859 times
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Hi Everyone,
We are looking to move out next year and have a couple of cities that we want to visit before we decide.
Luckily we have a couple of friends in both cities. What we are currently struggling to put down is a list of things that we need to do, check, double check while we are visiting.
Currently,
We plan to visit the public schools/libraries, drive around, eat, look at apartments etc.

House hunting : This is a biggie - how can we convince a realtor that we are here to just look (maybe buy in the future) but definitely not right now and still have them show us the houses ?

Can someone give me a good check list of the local things we should visit to get a good hang of the place ?

Thanks,
LS
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Old 08-04-2014, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,046 posts, read 5,968,721 times
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House hunting: use the internet to figure out what interests you. Pick about 15 or so properties and go there yourself. If you like it enough to want to see inside, write down the address.

Chances are, there will be 8 or so you can scratch off your list. Take the remaining ones to the company you see the most. For example, let's say it's RE/Max. Go to their office with the list and explain that you are just there for X days and want to see these properties. If they want you to sign anything, explain you are just looking right now and try another company. Be upfront that you aren't buying now but if you like the agent you might use him/her. In a big enough company, they will assign you someone junior or one of the unlicensed interns, who probably won't bother you with a long sales pitch.

By doing it that way, you learn your way around and cut down the potentials to things you really want to see. Once you find an area or two, then you can focus on hunting there.

What I look for in a new town (besides what you mentioned):

- Watch the local evening news! Remember, if it bleeds, it leads, but I knew I liked Des Moines because the lead stories weren't always shootings, robberies, or icky stuff.

- Mom & Pop restaurants, downtown after 5 pm (does it die?), malls if you are there on a weekend. Are people buying things? Or are they just trying to stay cool?

- Parking lots of major companies after hours and weekends. Are people around?

- Go to an event or two if you can -- art festival, county fair, etc. Are people happy and dressed OK? or is clothing threadbare? I'm not talking fashion. In areas that are hurting, clothing is frequently the first item that's cut.

Don't believe official spin on the economy. See for yourself. Lots of "toys" (boats, cars, etc) for sale in yards plus unhappy, poorly dressed folks is a very bad sign. Another red flag: pockets of wealth and a mile or so over, lots of people struggling. You want an area where the economy is generally good for all. Too much of the haves/have nots dynamic will cause unstability over time.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:12 PM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
10,395 posts, read 14,235,059 times
Reputation: 22915
What sort of things does your family do?
Visit the local parks, maybe take in a game with a local sports team, go to the lake to check out the crowd, hit up some grocery stores, big box stores if that is something you'll use if you move, just get a feel for how the people behave, the atmosphere of everyday life. Will you fit in? Are you a shorts and flip flop wearing kind of family looking at a town where everyone dresses to the nines to go grocery shopping kind of thing?
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:05 PM
 
4,787 posts, read 9,254,963 times
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If you're going to a place that gets winter, then go during the winter. See what's it's like when it's cold and snowing. Are the neighborhood streets cleaned quickly- are there horrendous traffic tie ups regularly, etc.

If you're going south or south east, go during the heat of the summer. Can you handle the daily humidity of the south/south east or the furnace dry heat of the desert south west in summer.

For houses, look for open houses and go to those. Drive around neighborhoods on Saturday afternoons and late at Saturday nights. Every place looks nice on Wednesday morning when kids are at school and people are at work. You want to see how congested neighborhood streets are for parking and noise when everyone is at home. You want to see what places are like on weekend days & especially eves. That's when you'll see what apartment complexes are really like.

Drive the local roads at rush hour- AM & PM - what looks like an inch on a map may be daily bumper to bumper, hour long horror show in real life.

Look for on line crime statistics for various areas you may find interesting. Look up sex offender registries for any likely neighborhoods you find. Most of all, visit more than once. Good luck
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