Welcome Home! Moving can be stressful. But even after the movers are gone and the boxes are unpacked, settling into your new neighborhood – whether you moved 3 miles or 3,000 miles – can be the part of the moving process that stays with you each day for an extended period.
Follow this guide for tips on how to make your new neighborhood yours over the first week, first month, and first year…
THE FIRST WEEK: ORGANIZE AND SETTLE IN
1. Get your bills in order.
You probably had the essentials switched over to your name so you wouldn’t be without them on move-in day. But you’ll need to make appointments for other services, like cable or home security, right after you move in. Other essentials may also have slipped off your radar, like neighborhood trash pickup dates, your Saratoga Real Estate Agent should have a list of area service providers – and their phone numbers. If they don’t give it to you, be sure to ask!
2. Find your local resources.
No matter how organized you are, there will be items, like extension cords and towel rods, that you will need to pick up quickly to make sure that you feel settled. Your first week is the best time to seek out these essentials and more. You’ll no doubt become well-acquainted with the nearby hardware store, but you’ll also want to stock that new fridge at the local grocery store, make friends with the barista at the neighborhood coffee shop, and hit the closest post office to have your mail forwarded.
3. Meet the neighbors.
This will give you some comfort in knowing who is around you. Neighbors are a great resource for discovering where all the local hot spots are, where to go for necessary services, and more. If you have children, this will also help them meet the neighborhood kids their age and start making friends.
4. Find your community online.
Neighborhood or community groups on Facebook are an easy way to start following what’s happening in your new neighborhood.
RESOURCE: Join the Saratoga Springs Residents Group on Facebook
A subscription to the local city magazine can’t hurt either. This way, you can stay on top of community events, safety issues, and meet more people. Want to untether from the laptop? Head to your local coffee shop and scope out the bulletin boards for upcoming events or local businesses to try.
5. Study the rules.
Before you jump into those home improvement projects, make sure they’re not against the rules of your homeowners’ association (HOA) or local zoning laws. If you live in a historic district, you may even have to get your paint colors approved! And be careful not to overlook those easy-to-forget loose ends.
During your home-buying process, there are lots of deadlines and time frames to be aware of. After closing, you will also want to check on items like your property taxes, can you request a homestead exemption, etc.
THE FIRST MONTH: EXPLORE AND GROW
1. Dine like a local.
Try different restaurants, supermarkets, coffee shops, and bars in the neighborhood. One of the great things about living in the Saratoga Springs area is the great variety of resources within walking distance. You can choose your favorites and start to build a community.
RESOURCE: Join the Saratoga Springs Lifestyle Group on Facebook
2. Extend invites.
The sooner you make friends in a new city, the sooner it will start to feel like home. When people find out that you are moving to the Saratoga area, they will tell you about their college roommate’s niece, their brother-in-law’s cousin, their former baby sitter, all of whom have moved to Saratoga. Whether you live in town or in an adjacent town, don’t roll your eyes at these connections. Make the effort to get together with all of them - they will invite you to meet others and share their tips.
3. Follow your interests.
Local charities are always looking for volunteers. City recreation facilities often offer classes for kids and adults. This can also be a great way to meet other locals that have similar interests.
4. Pitch in.
Offering to assist a neighbor with a project can also be a great way to break into the neighborhood. In Saratoga where it snows, perhaps, help with snow removal. When the weather is nice, help with lawn mowing, trimming, raking leaves, or other projects. The favor will likely be returned in the future!
5. Meet your HOA president.
This person can be a great ally when it comes to neighbors breaking the rules (ahem, not mowing their lawns, partying too loudly, etc.). Get to know them well, so you can get your voice heard.
THE FIRST YEAR: PRACTICE GOOD CITIZENSHIP
1. Take advantage of your city.
You chose Saratoga for its character, proximity to work, or its other perks. Now’s the time to explore other neighborhoods nearby for hidden gems. Go to the theater! Visit museums and concerts. Take advantage of your town’s amazing parks! Knowing your city better will help you feel more connected and give you even more favorite places to come back to again and again.
2. Start a group.
Make an effort to stay connected with your neighbors, even if you don’t click right away. In the first year in a neighborhood, you will find that some of your neighbors and you will click and they will become friends. They’re a built-in source of information and support nearby. To stay in touch, launch a book club, dinner club, or other type of regular get-together on a schedule that works for everyone. It’s a low-pressure way to forge a deeper connection with those around you.
3. Host for a holiday.
Pick a holiday and plan an event in your home. Invite the neighbors or friends from unconnected groups. Think of it as your own mixer. Who knows? Maybe you’ll inspire some more friends to move to your neighborhood - and make next year’s parties even better.
4. Attend HOA meetings.
Attend as many HOA meetings as possible so you’re aware of exactly what’s happening in your community regularly. If you have time, you might consider joining in a more official capacity, which lets you contribute to future plans and provide insights into neighborhood changes.
5. Make goals for next year.
Reflect on your first year in your new neighborhood and make goals for the next one. Would you like to get more involved, perhaps in a leadership role with your HOA? Have you noticed congestion or traffic issues that you could work with your neighbors to resolve? Maybe you’d like to support a local nonprofit or school by organizing a 5K race through your neighborhood. Or perhaps there’s a beautification effort you could launch. Whatever you choose, you’ll be on a path to deepen your involvement in your community.
What tips do you have for moving to a new city or neighborhood? What worked for you? Do you have tips to add to our list? Let us know! Sound off on The Shannon McCarthy Team Facebook Page or on our Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICEtm email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.