It’s finally done, you’ve made the big move, you’re done getting settled into your new home! Every box is unpacked, everything’s in its place (took long enough, right?) — it’s all smooth sailing from here. Congrats! Now you might even have time now to branch out, take a walk, and explore the neighborhood (further than the take-out you bought while you still couldn’t find your forks). So go for it, get some fresh air! And while you’re at it, get acquainted with your new surroundings.
Whether you bought a home in the same place you grew up, or you moved to a totally new and unfamiliar location, there’s a lot to get to know: Your neighbors, your neighborhood, local shops and restaurants, schools, parks, even that secret route for your fastest commute. It will all come in time, but some parts require extra effort for best results.
We’re here to help you with simple tips to help you get to know and get involved with your new community, to speed up the process and keep you comfy. Starting with…
Throw a Housewarming Party
A housewarming party serves two important purposes: you get to celebrate your new home with your friends and family, AND you can invite your new neighbors to break the ice! After all the work you put in to finding and buying your new home, moving, and settling in, you definitely deserve some fun.
Throwing a housewarming party gives you a low-pressure opportunity to mingle with your new neighbors. If you have kids at home, it’s also a chance for them to meet other kids in the neighborhood. It’s always nice to have a friend on the block!
Given the public health restrictions on in-person gatherings these days, you may need to plan ahead to ensure that your event is held safely (and legally). If it’s currently allowed to host a shindig in your area, it may still be best to keep party-goers outside for a BBQ or play-day in the yard. If you don’t have the exterior space, or if you just plain can’t hold a party, the next best thing is a virtual Zoom party. Not the best, we know… but you can do a virtual tour of your newly decorated home, and plan some fun games to keep the virtual party rolling.
Find Ways to Volunteer
Getting involved by giving back is a great way to meet locals, and you’ll feel so much more invested in the community. To get started, check for opportunities to volunteer on your municipal website, community Facebook pages and other social media. If your neighborhood is old-school, which is pretty cool, you might even find a physical bulletin board somewhere like the town square. Take a look for community gatherings and volunteering events and drives.
Volunteering might be a particularly nice way to meet folks in your community, for those who aren’t so fond of walking up to strangers and starting a conversation. When you volunteer, you’ll naturally meet others who are giving their time. You already have one thing in common, and you have something to do rather than stare blankly at one another from across the sidewalk.
You may be collecting food for the homeless, planting a community garden, or selling homemade treats at the local bake sale. Whatever form your efforts take, there’s no better way to get involved and invested in your new community. Many volunteering opportunities are great for kids too, and will instill an appreciation for giving back at an early age.
Of course, before you run out to volunteer, be sure to check the latest COVID guidelines in your area. You may be required to bring certain items like extra masks or gloves. If you’re at risk, you might want to leave volunteering to others for the time being.
Connect With an App
There’s an app for everything these days, including quite a few for getting in touch with your neighborhood! The most popular community app is NextDoor, which you can visit on a phone app or anything with a web browser. We also mentioned Facebook community pages earlier, which can be an even better source for community info and connections.
There are apps that connect you with other parents or pet owners or enthusiasts in your area, apps to find a restaurant, to find a date, to find Pokemon on the sidewalk, to find hidden treasure… well, maybe not treasure, but would you be surprised?
Importantly, with any type of social media, we always recommend to be careful when sharing any kind of personal information.
Strike Up a Conversation
Not everyone is super outgoing, and that’s okay, but if you find the right chance to greet your neighbors, we highly recommend it! Just say hi, introduce yourself and let them know you’re the new homeowners. You’ll find that most people are quite friendly and happy to chat. If that doesn’t describe your new neighbors, that’s a good thing to know anyways. We highly suggest breaking that ice — you never know when you might need a cup of sugar!
If you do decide to strike up a chat with your neighbors, keep in mind the current COVID guidelines. Don’t get inches away, and definitely don’t just run up and hug them. That’s probably not allowed, and your neighbors might think you’re a little weird.
Have An Adventure
Neighbors aren’t the only new part of your new community, there’s also the great wide yonder of new streets, parks, and places to go! If you don’t mind the hustle, try packing some food and water and going for a hike. It can be an urban hike through streets and shops, or your standard nature hike through the local flora. If things are spread out, or you’d rather not hoof it, then driving to new places can be very rewarding too.
For your adventure, there’s a couple ways to do it. You can let the roads and paths just whisk you away, discovering new places as you travel. Or you can do a little research beforehand, browsing the web to find hotspots and great views recommended by locals who have been around the block a while. In most cases, we recommend the latter option, just so you don’t get too tired or waste too much gas while aimlessly wandering. But if your surroundings are nice (and safe), you’re not likely to go wrong by just following your nose. Just don’t forget your GPS.
Adventuring and day-trips help you really get to know your new area. They’ll help you learn the best travel routes, the closest shops and tasty restaurants, and maybe even some local history too. GPS or not, it’s nice to know where you are and where you’re going. Have an adventure to make it so!
Getting Settled in a New Home 101
When getting settled in a new home, there are tons of ways that you can get involved and find out about your new surroundings, while at the same time making sure you and your family are safe and comfortable.
It can be strange to live in a totally new place, so we hope the tips we shared above will help you to leap over that initial phase and quickly feel at home. Definitely consider some volunteering opportunities in your area, and don’t miss out on your housewarming party if you’re able to have one! They don’t come around too often.
If you are still looking for your forever home yet, or just your next step and next adventure, we’re here to help you. Contact the Stavros Group and let us know your goals!