Moving into a new house involves more than arranging furniture and getting your kids acclimated to a different school. To feel truly comfortable and settled in another city or state, you'll want to make connections with neighbors and
Sure, it can feel awkward extending a hand to introduce yourself. But if you dive right in, you'll soon get beyond the "new guy" label and feel welcome.
Here are seven ways to settle in after a move and make your new community feel like you've been there for years.
1. Network before you move
It's much easier to go from one friend to two than it is to start from zero, points out Ali Wenzke, a blogger at the Art of Happy Moving.
"Reach out to your network of friends to see if anyone knows someone in your new city ... and then reach out via email and maybe meet up for coffee" once you're there, she suggests.
If you hit it off, great. But if you don't, at least you've met someone who can possibly steer you toward fun things to do in the area—where you can meet your new BFF.
2. Host an open house after you move in
Throwing a party for a bunch of strangers may be the last thing you feel like doing, but it's a great way to meet a ton of new people in one shot. Plus, your neighbors are probably dying to see the inside of the place you just bought.
Make your open house casual and easy by scheduling it for a few hours on a quiet Sunday afternoon and offering simple fare (think beer, chips, apple cider, and brownies). Your new neighbors will have a chance to meet you, and you'll get to hear some news about the community.
3. Venture outside
Still dealing with a ton of cardboard and packing peanuts? Rather than work in the garage, take your box cutter out to the lawn or driveway and break down your boxes outside. Bagging recyclables and tying up cardboard bundles are more fun when you can take a break to chat with passers-by.
Or do a little gardening such as potting hardy mums, raking leaves, or planting bulbs. Time these tasks for when people are picking up kids at the bus stop, and you'll create an easy meet-and-greet opportunity.
4. Hit the local shops
Sure, you'll shop at Target and the other big-box stores for new throw pillows, but make an effort to patronize the smaller shops in town, too. And do the same at restaurants—because who wants to cook after days of unpacking?
Frequent a couple of cafes or diners and get to know the servers and owner by name, suggests David Meek, a broker at Keller Williams Arizona Realty. "Restaurateurs are well-networked members of their community," he points out.
5. Grab the dog's leash
Your pup might be able to run out the back door to exercise, but you can also use it to your advantage when it comes to meeting new people.
"Dogs allow you to make quick and smooth introductions to other pet owners," Meek says. "Plus you'll meet more community members if you hang out at the local dog run."
6. Join a group
Love to fish? Or is pottery your jam? Indulging in a hobby might not be top of mind right after a big move, but now's the time to make yourself have a little fun. Try a site such as Meetup.com to find folks with similar interests.
In Phoenix, "hiking is really popular here and there are hundreds of Meetups on the trails for singles, seniors, and beginners," Meek says.
Michael Kelczewski, a Delaware- and Pennnsylvania-based Realtor® with Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby's International, is a fan of the social network Nextdoor.com. "And many homeowners associations have websites and Facebook groups you can join," he adds.
Or sign up for your local CSA, or community-supported agriculture, suggests Jill Ginsberg, a licensed salesperson with Bohemia Realty in New York City. "You'll get to meet new people and support local farmers at the same time," she adds.
7. Stuff some mailboxes
Theresa Jones, a Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway in San Diego who's moved a half-dozen times in the past decade, suggests putting together a fun letter or postcard.
"Write a little bit about your family in the note and then leave it in your new neighbors' mailboxes," she says. You'll spread the news of your arrival and inform people of your contact info.
Or bake a batch of your house specialty and share it, suggests Lorrie Cozzens, communications manager at Help-U-Sell Real Estate. "Pick up inexpensive containers and make little gifts to drop off as you introduce yourself," she says.
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