Finding the right home town, not just the right home...
Your new home will be awesome once the chaos is over and you move in; but then what? Most home buyers (particularly young first time home buyers) are focused on school ranking and proximity to their work location which are both very important. There is another very integral piece that seems to get less attention that will help you cross the bridge from having a home to being part of a home town. Your local community.
Make sure you are taking the time to research and experience your closest village, town or even city. There are many things to check out and test drive:
Let's get this one out of the way....who has the best Pizza? Your likely once a week meal is important.
Meet 3 of your neighbors. Start with the ones on either side of your home and the one directly across the street. This sadly got lost in the last few years, let's bring it back.
Church or place of faith. Find your new faith family if you haven't already. Are there opportunities to volunteer and help out?
Local government offices. Where is the post office, the town hall, the police and fire departments? Are there opportunities to volunteer and help out?
Events. Where are the local festivals, concerts, outdoor movie's and vendor fairs held? Are there opportunities to volunteer and help out?
Parks. Where can you go for walking, hiking, fishing and playing team sports?
Doctors offices, hospitals, dentists and vets. Make sure you have accessible health care that is also part of your providers "network".
Grocery store. Who has the best deals on which days?
Hardware store. Is there one close by? As a new home owner, you WILL need one. Watch for discounts for new home buyers or new to the neighborhood.
Museum. Most locales, even the smallest ones, have some sort of historical museum or group. Take one Saturday morning and visit it. There is so much to learn, understand and appreciate about your new home that is readily available and rarely accessed. If you are from another state, there is usually even more to learn.
Learning about your community by more than just searching the web will help you feel connected and part of something bigger than your HOA. Getting involved and taking part in activities will help even more. Welcome to the neighborhood!