Moving house is one of the most exciting and stressful things we do on a routine basis. We are a truly mobile society. We don’t have any loyalty to location. We want to stay put about as much as a shark does. We are always hungry for the next thing. For us, standing still feels more like moving backward.
A 30-year mortgage is a joke, a mere financial device that has no real meaning to anyone under 50. What kind of person stays in one place for 30 years? These days, it is not even a goal. It is more of a prison sentence and we generally want no part of it.
Because we are so mobile we have the additional challenge of making sure that the neighborhood where we land is suitable for safety. That is an even bigger concern if we have a family to protect.
You can’t afford to take safety for granted. You want to know your home will be secure when you are on vacation. This is all a part of the function of a safe neighborhood. Here are a few things you can proactively do to ensure your neighborhood of choice is safe before you move:
Do a Test Run
One of the main reasons for moving house is work related. A lot of hiring is done completely online. So if you land a job in the heart of the Heat, give it a test run before you move your family. Get one of those furnished apartments in Phoenix for a month or two and see how it really is to live there during the hot season.
While you’re there, check out the neighborhoods where you want to live. See what it is like when the sun goes down. What is it like on the weekends? How convenient is the shopping? What are the noise levels? How safe do you feel when you are wandering around by yourself? Are there any kids age-compatible with your kids?
These are all fair questions to ask, and ones most people don’t bother to look into. When you are reacting an apartment from online adds, those adds don’t tell you how many For Sale signs are in the neighborhood, or how many cars drive by thumping out obnoxiously loud and offensive music as they pass, or how many ne’er-do-wells are just cruising around and hanging out looking for whatever comes next. The only way to know is to visit before you move. It will be the best moving expense you ever have.
Do the Research
There are plenty of paid sites that allow you to plug in a zip code and see all the crime data available, sliced, diced, and easy to digest. There are also free sites that do the same thing. You can get every relevant fact about any neighborhood, much of which, a real estate agent wouldn’t or couldn’t tell you.
The data likely comes from census data. But census data is hard to read and hard to understand. The point is that you have options of which you can and should avail yourself. You don’t have to go into a situation blind. You don’t have to learn about all the negatives after you have put down the deposit. You owe it to yourself and your family to do the best possible research before you move.
Check for Litter
One of the signs that you are in the wrong kind of neighborhood is by checking to see how much litter there is on the streets, in yards, and in public areas. If the neighborhood does not care about keeping things relatively neat, they are probably going to lax in other important areas as well.
While checking for litter, check to see the condition of the houses. Are there lots of abandoned houses with broken or boarded up windows? These signs of neglect should clue you in on why you are getting such a good deal.
Even if you take precautions, your neighborhood can still go downhill. That’s life. But you can get the best start by giving it a test run with short-lease housing, doing your research, and checking for signs of neglect.