In a tight economy, many people are having to look far and wide for the right job opportunities.  Which can mean moving to unfamiliar places, a daunting prospect, especially if you have school-age children.  Finding the right neighborhoods and school districts is a vital part of making the experience a good one in the long run.

To get the information you need to make a good decision, you’ll rely a lot on a local real estate professional, someone who has an established network of contacts throughout the area.  But, you probably have your own network, and it’s a perfect time to put it to use.

I’m talking about Facebook and other social media sites.  If you’re a regular online, let your friends and contacts know where you’re planning to move and ask them for information about the area.  Ask about neighborhoods, schools, local parks and attractions, favorite restaurants and other places that may soon be a big part of your new life.  If your Facebook friends don’t know themselves, maybe they have other friends that do.

You can do the same thing with other services like Twitter or LinkedIn.  Tweeting something like: “Planning to move to Champaign. What are the best schools in town? #Champaign” is a simple way to solicit information from a variety of people. 

If you already have a job in the new location, make sure to ask your new company’s human resources department for any assistance they can offer you.  Find out specifics like where you’ll need to go to get your car registered and a new driver’s license.  Churches can be an excellent resource as well.

Of course, you’re going to want to see your options personally before you make any decision. And you can plan ahead for your scouting trip by using services like Yelp to pinpoint specific shops, services and restaurants that will be important to you. 

And having prepared before you tour the area with a real estate professional, you’ll be in a much better position to ask specific questions and provide information that will make your search for a new home a much easier and enjoyable experience.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
ChampaignRose.com

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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company. Photo courtesy dougtone/flickr.com