Moving to a new neighborhood can be an exciting, fresh start. However, it goes without saying that you should do your due diligence before taking the leap. Even if you’re somewhat familiar with the area, there are a few points to consider before relocating to a new neighborhood. Read on for some helpful tips.

Be Picky

Even if a neighborhood looks appealing at first, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s not only safe but that it also meets your needs and interests. If you’re new to relocating, below are a few aspects of an area to check out before deciding on your neighborhood of choice:

Convenience: depending on your needs, check the proximity of your new place to areas such as your place of work, local shops and services, medical care, police and fire stations, transportation, etc.

Safety: does the area have low crime rates? Is it known for being safe?

Maintenance: are the roads well maintained? Does the area look like it’s up and coming? Or is it derelict and in need of funding and infrastructure?

Green spaces: check whether the area is close to parks and gardens. Are there lots of trees or does it have a largely urban feel?

Cultural facilities: if cultural activities like galleries, theaters, and restaurants are important to you, find out whether the area is abundant in these or if you have to travel far to access them.

Pack Smart

It can be tempting to leave your packing to the last minute. However, you can make the process much easier by following a few simple smart packing rules. The first is to start early as packing can take much longer than you think. A few other tips to consider are:

• Use free moving boxes where possible.

• Prioritize packing so that you have boxes set aside with essentials that you’ll need when you arrive.

• Ensure you use plenty of packing materials/padding to protect fragile items.

• Label each moving box clearly so that you know what’s inside.

Remember to Change Over the Utilities

Changing over the utilities can take time, so it’s important to do this in advance. Get in touch with your providers at least three weeks ahead of your move so that you can find out whether they service your new area and if you need to pay any overdue bills, etc. If you’re renting and your new place is managed by a homeowners property management service, it’s also wise to check with them about whether any utilities are currently active. If that’s the case, it could be a matter of just changing the name over to yours.

Secure Your Home

When you arrive, it’s important to make sure you feel safe and secure. While it may be tempting to get lost in the excitement of unpacking and enjoying your new home, it’s equally important to ensure that you know how to secure it. For example, change all the locks (if it hasn’t been done already) and check that all the windows and doors close securely. You may even want to install a security camera or alarm in the case of break-ins.

Meet the Neighbors

Last, but not least, make sure you introduce yourself to your neighbors! Not only can it create a nice rapport and enhance the security of your home, but you also never know when you might need to ask your neighbors for a favor.