How To Adjust To Your New Neighborhood
Planning the perfect move can be stressful on its own, but what happens after the move? You’ve finally settled into your new home, and are well on your way to unpacking, rearranging furniture, and locating the important features of your home (we hope!) What about that big, brand new neighborhood just outside of your door, waiting to be explored? Moving to a new home is one thing, but adjusting to a new neighborhood – complete with new shops, schools, and parks to explore – can be a daunting task.
Your neighborhood and how you interact within it is more important than we think. Sure, you might never exchange more than a few words with most of your neighbors, but they’re more than just people who live next to you. A neighborhood is also a community, filled with people who are dedicated to protecting not only their home, but yours too. It pays off to learn more about your neighborhood’s rules, quirks, and expectations, and to reach out your neighbors about crucial matters like security, safety, and local events. If you have a family, your neighborhood will undoubtedly be the source of school events, play dates, and weekly meetups.
Here are four tips to adjust to your new neighborhood, and introduce yourself to your neighbors:
1. Register with your local Homeowners Association: A homeowners association is a regulatory corporation developed by real estate developers to market, manage, and sell homes in your neighborhood. Not every neighborhood may come equipped with one, but most do, and it’s definitely in your favor to locate and connect with yours. Depending on state law, homeowners associations may have the power to regulate the appearance of your property, levy fines, or and impose other matters that may directly affect your home.
If you buy a home in a neighborhood, you are automatically considered a member of your homeowners association, so it’s best to start things off on the right foot – you virtually have no option to refuse membership. Research your local association and record any contact information (email, phone number) for future reference. Learn the names of your association’s officials, add yourself to any mailing or email lists available, and try to attend local meetings when you can. Association meetings are where homeowners can communicate with officials, air any grievances, and receive updates on neighborhood happenings.
2. Read the bulletin board (if there’s one available): If your neighborhood comes equipped with an clubhouse or pool, chances are there will be a bulletin board available to you. Use this board to read about local events (so you can complete the next step!), neighborhood updates, security warnings, or even special happenings like birthdays or anniversaries. Bulletin boards are often how neighbors communicate directly to their community without interference, and it may your first step to learning more about what’s important to your neighborhood.
Attend local or school events: School events are one easy way to connect with other families in your neighborhood, and can also be beneficial for helping your children make new friends. Use the bulletin board or any similar method to see what events are available, and try to keep a consistent schedule with visiting. The more your visit, the more opportunities your neighbors have to get to know you, and the more comfortable you’ll feel with making more personal connections outside of the events.
3. Volunteer with a related organization or institution: This could be any local donations, walks or races, or even a nearby church. Find out what organizations are active within your neighborhood, when they meet, and what type of events they run monthly or yearly. You may not be able to make it out to every volunteer opportunity, and that’s okay! Volunteering is a wonderful way to connect with your neighbors, and it gives you a reason to pursue what’s most important to you.
4. Download an app: There are a variety of apps available to connect you to your neighbors. Apps like Nextdoor, Neighborland, Communr function like a social networking platform for your neighborhood, so you can communicate with neighbors and raise awareness of local events. Neighborhood watch apps like EveryBlock and NeigborhoodWatch NOW are designed to help neighbors alert their community of suspicious or unsavory activity and directly link users to their local police departments. Choose an app that best serves your goals, whether its communicating with your neighbors or staying up to date on local crime.
Use any one of these tips to learn more about your community, make new friends, and fall in love with your new neighborhood. Happy moving!