The Tomaiolo Realty Group's Blog
It must have been frightening, in the days before the internet, to move to a new place that you knew little about. The culture, the people, the things to do--all of these things are now at our fingertips thanks to Google and others.
However, it can still be difficult to get used to a new town, especially if you’re moving far away from your previous home. So, in this article, I’m going to give you some tips on how to investigate your new town. That way, you’ll have a good idea of what kind of things you can do for fun, where to eat, and countless other things you might want to know about the place you’ll soon call home.
The lay of the land
A good place to start your search is on Google Maps. From here you can explore your future neighborhood; find out how close you are to grocery stores, parks, hospitals, and even get an estimate on how long your work commute will take each day.
Since many of these places will have ratings and reviews, you can also take some time to read the reviews for popular places around town.
Eating around town
It can seem like you’re always flipping a coin when you eat at a new restaurant. When you move to a new town, you’ll have to discover new favorite places to eat. However, you don’t have to do these experiments on your own.
Check out Yelp reviews for local restaurants and cafes to get a sense of the pricing and atmosphere. This way you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of enjoying the experience.
Meeting new people
Making friends is hard enough as an adult. In today’s world, many people meet their friends online or through other connections, rather than simply hanging around with their neighbors.
Luckily, sites like Facebook and Meetup make it easier to introduce yourself to like-minded people.
Browse local meetups that you’re interested in, and don’t be afraid to try out a new activity or attend a paint night--you might meet new people and discover a new hobby all at once.
Most towns have a strong presence on Facebook in terms of things like groups and events. Joining local groups will give you an idea of the type of things people do for fun around town and give you a way to introduce yourself to new people.
Read the news
Many towns are covered by a local or regional newspaper. They can often be found online or at a local library or cafe. These newspapers are often the key to discovering the good and the bad about your new home, tipping you off to the things you’ll want to pay attention to when you move.
If you live in an older home or neighborhood there’s a good chance your house holds a rich history within. Aside from talking with the previous owners, most people don’t look much further into the stories their house might have.
If you’re curious about your family history there are resources available so you can find long lost relatives and discover where your family lived over the years. Most people don’t think to do the same research for their home, even though they might spend years in it.
Why should I research the history of my home?
There are many reasons why someone might want to learn more about the history of their home. The main reason is because it’s fun and interesting. Your search will bring you to places you’ve likely never been before, whether it’s federal records on the internet, or to dusty microfilm archives in your basement.
Aside from the fun of researching, your work could also bring to light useful information. You might be able to add to resale value by discovering additional details about the home. Similarly, if you come across old photos of the home you could attempt to restore some architectural and design details to their original form. Whether you do this to stay true to the roots of your home or to attempt to add value is up to you.
Where should I begin?
Like most research projects, the internet is probably your best place to start. To learn more about the property your home sits on you could search the National Archives land records. These records detail when a piece of land was transferred from the U.S. government to private ownership. In other words, you might be able to find information about the first person to ever own your home.
A good place to head from there is to run a title search on your property. You will most likely need to visit the town clerk or your local courthouse to access titles. This will paint a fuller picture of who the people who owned your home were.
Now that you know who, learning about the home itself will be much easier. There are several genealogy sites online (some free, others paid) which will help you learn about the previous inhabitants of your home. Feel free to Google their names, especially if they were a public figure. You might even find photos of your home.
What to do if you can’t find any information
Just because you can’t find any photos or details online doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You might need to reach out to relatives of previous owners to find out more information.
Another option is your local library. Not only do libraries have a local history section complete with town records, but the librarians are also trained researchers who will be able to help you navigate the stacks. You could discover books containing details like population, town meeting notes, and new ordinances, including building codes.
Once you’ve learned a bit about the history of your home, see if you can spot the changes that have been made to it over the years.