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How can you find out more about a town before you move there?

jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots member
5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer

I'm not talking about their Wikipedia stats. We are unhappy with our current town for a number of reasons including-

brown water- everyone in town has been complaining about this issue for 2 years and they just keep saying they are working on it and that it passes health & safety compliances. But it's so bad that it stains my white laundry and my sinks/ bathtub.

no bon-fires- whenever people try to just relax and have a controlled fire pit in their back yard, the fire dept promptly shows up and makes them put it out and sometimes gives a citation. It's ridiculous and it's not state law or anything, many surrounding towns allow it.

selectmen- I was involved in a public dog bite incident and was not happy with the way the town selectmen handled the dog/ owners/ situation.

There are other issues like plows only making one pass up the center of the street in winter not coming all the way to the edge of the road, torn up roads, bad school rankings. It's just not a place I want to be anymore, but these aren't things that are published so when house searching how would we find out more about how a town handles these things before we buy a house in that town? I don't know anyone who lives in the towns I'm considering. And the owners want to make a sale so they will probably just say it's great or no comment. One of my friends said she literally interviewed neighbors of the house she bought, is that common?

                                                                 

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Re: How can you find out more about a town before you move there?

  • We are renting in our new town - I seem to have a gift for crappy neighbors, and that theory seems to be holding a little bit although the new ones aren't TOO terrible (one likes to only mow until she runs out of gas, then she just stops, no matter what's left), but I don't know that we would buy in the neighborhood we are in.  Can you rent instead of buying to get a good feel?
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  • When you go looking at houses, talk to some of the neighbors if you can.  Look for people out in their yards/driveways and be friendly.  If someone doesn't want to talk, don't push them.  You could also try talking to people in local businesses, coffee shops, the library... see what they have to see about the town.
  • theartistformerlyknownastheartistformerlyknownas peaced out. member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    Check out http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ , read their local newspaper online, see if they're on http://patch.com/ etc.


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  • City Data
    Neighborhood Scout 
    Start making local news websites part of your regular routine
    Visit town services/amenities 
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  • edited July 2014
    I would say make a list of what you want in a town. Your must haves and your "would be nice" - separate lists. 

    If it's ordinances (e.g. the firepit thing), go online and look them up. If you can't find the answers you're looking for, call the local city hall and ask how you can find out. It's also worth visiting a town's official website for FAQs.

    You can find out school rankings online. 

    For stuff like water color, road plowing and road condition, you'll need to do your own research. That might mean driving around neighborhoods you like to feel out the condition of the roads, turning on the water when you go house hunting, driving around after a snow storm to see how it's handled. Also, ask about neighborhood association fees and what's included when you're house hunting - they might supplement snow removal if the county sucks (ours does and we never have an issue with snow).
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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited July 2014
    Zillow or similar sites have school rankings and crime rankings. The county offices should help with laws and ordinances. Indianapolis has the worst water, I just used google to check our new towns water situation. Which by the was is amazing. We use to go threw a water filter every 3 weeks in Indy. Here, still on the first one and we moved in in March. Being able to talk to the neighbors/small business owners is a great way to get to know the little stuff like how they plow and such.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • jenna8984 said:

    I'm not talking about their Wikipedia stats. We are unhappy with our current town for a number of reasons including-

    brown water- everyone in town has been complaining about this issue for 2 years and they just keep saying they are working on it and that it passes health & safety compliances. But it's so bad that it stains my white laundry and my sinks/ bathtub.

    no bon-fires- whenever people try to just relax and have a controlled fire pit in their back yard, the fire dept promptly shows up and makes them put it out and sometimes gives a citation. It's ridiculous and it's not state law or anything, many surrounding towns allow it.

    selectmen- I was involved in a public dog bite incident and was not happy with the way the town selectmen handled the dog/ owners/ situation.

    There are other issues like plows only making one pass up the center of the street in winter not coming all the way to the edge of the road, torn up roads, bad school rankings. It's just not a place I want to be anymore, but these aren't things that are published so when house searching how would we find out more about how a town handles these things before we buy a house in that town? I don't know anyone who lives in the towns I'm considering. And the owners want to make a sale so they will probably just say it's great or no comment. One of my friends said she literally interviewed neighbors of the house she bought, is that common?

    That's called a city ordinance. You should be able to look the ordinances for a particular town or city up online. You can find the ones for where were live through the city's website.  If they aren't online go to the Clerk's office at the courthouse, they can point you to the municipal code.  

    Take a vacation or make a weekend visit to the towns you are thinking of moving to. Read their papers, talk to the locals, walk around and get a feel for the place.   
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  • beetherybeethery So sayeth the fuckin' Pope. member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    jenna8984 said:

    I'm not talking about their Wikipedia stats. We are unhappy with our current town for a number of reasons including-

    brown water- everyone in town has been complaining about this issue for 2 years and they just keep saying they are working on it and that it passes health & safety compliances. But it's so bad that it stains my white laundry and my sinks/ bathtub.

    no bon-fires- whenever people try to just relax and have a controlled fire pit in their back yard, the fire dept promptly shows up and makes them put it out and sometimes gives a citation. It's ridiculous and it's not state law or anything, many surrounding towns allow it.

    selectmen- I was involved in a public dog bite incident and was not happy with the way the town selectmen handled the dog/ owners/ situation.

    There are other issues like plows only making one pass up the center of the street in winter not coming all the way to the edge of the road, torn up roads, bad school rankings. It's just not a place I want to be anymore, but these aren't things that are published so when house searching how would we find out more about how a town handles these things before we buy a house in that town? I don't know anyone who lives in the towns I'm considering. And the owners want to make a sale so they will probably just say it's great or no comment. One of my friends said she literally interviewed neighbors of the house she bought, is that common?

    This is kind of a personal question but do you live in the Hillsborough, NH area??? Because holy balls it sounds JUST LIKE MY SITUATION er: water/plowing/fires.
    --

    I'm the fuck out.

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  • theartistformerlyknownastheartistformerlyknownas peaced out. member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    Letters to the editor in a local paper are a good way to see what the locals are bitching about. Crime blotters, too, may have lots of "FD called for bonfire" or "PD called for noise, again" listings. That's more of a small town/small paper thing.

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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited July 2014
    mysticl said:
    jenna8984 said:

    I'm not talking about their Wikipedia stats. We are unhappy with our current town for a number of reasons including-

    brown water- everyone in town has been complaining about this issue for 2 years and they just keep saying they are working on it and that it passes health & safety compliances. But it's so bad that it stains my white laundry and my sinks/ bathtub.

    no bon-fires- whenever people try to just relax and have a controlled fire pit in their back yard, the fire dept promptly shows up and makes them put it out and sometimes gives a citation. It's ridiculous and it's not state law or anything, many surrounding towns allow it.

    selectmen- I was involved in a public dog bite incident and was not happy with the way the town selectmen handled the dog/ owners/ situation.

    There are other issues like plows only making one pass up the center of the street in winter not coming all the way to the edge of the road, torn up roads, bad school rankings. It's just not a place I want to be anymore, but these aren't things that are published so when house searching how would we find out more about how a town handles these things before we buy a house in that town? I don't know anyone who lives in the towns I'm considering. And the owners want to make a sale so they will probably just say it's great or no comment. One of my friends said she literally interviewed neighbors of the house she bought, is that common?

    That's called a city ordinance. You should be able to look the ordinances for a particular town or city up online. You can find the ones for where were live through the city's website.  If they aren't online go to the Clerk's office at the courthouse, they can point you to the municipal code.  

    Take a vacation or make a weekend visit to the towns you are thinking of moving to. Read their papers, talk to the locals, walk around and get a feel for the place.   


    ***SITB ***

    Or county or township or HOA.     Ordinances can be found in a lot of different locales.    To be save, call all that might apply.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    mysticlsouthernbelle0915
  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    beethery said:
     
    This is kind of a personal question but do you live in the Hillsborough, NH area??? Because holy balls it sounds JUST LIKE MY SITUATION er: water/plowing/fires.
    Close- southern MA! I'm surprised you have issues with fires though, I always thought NH was "freedom or death" state where you could do things like that without being bothered lol

                                                                     

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  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer

    Lots of helpful tips so far- thanks all!!

    We don't have HOA's around here. There might be some in the ritzy towns closer to Boston that I can't afford, but there are none near me lol

                                                                     

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  • KeptInStitchesKeptInStitches the Northern Plains member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Read the local paper. It will also give you insight into the local issues.
  • Search Facebook pages too - either for the town or it's mayor/selectman/divine ruler/etc. You can see what people are complaining about on the page. This would help especially with the snow trucks. People in my town love to take pictures of the good or bad snow plowing jobs and post them online. 
    theartistformerlyknownasjenna8984
  • beetherybeethery So sayeth the fuckin' Pope. member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    jenna8984 said:
    beethery said:
     
    This is kind of a personal question but do you live in the Hillsborough, NH area??? Because holy balls it sounds JUST LIKE MY SITUATION er: water/plowing/fires.
    Close- southern MA! I'm surprised you have issues with fires though, I always thought NH was "freedom or death" state where you could do things like that without being bothered lol
    Snow on the ground: fire is ok. Fire pit: depends on the town and if the neighbors are tattletales.

    My parents live in the middle of the woods and we had a big bonfire for my graduation party. The neighbors were all there, so nobody cried to the PD. Bonfire when the FD has any color but green on the Smokey The Bear sign? You're cutting it close. One of our very good friends has a fire bowl thing and he does weird jenga shit with broken pallets and uses that for huuuuuuuge fires, and never gets a peep from any of his neighbors.

    Though he does live in the middle of nowhere where there's not even a cell phone signal. It all really depends on what towns you live in here. Some towns are super anal about everything, others don't give a shit as long as you're low-key about it.
    --

    I'm the fuck out.

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  • hellosweetie1015hellosweetie1015 Where the skies are so blue member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    http://www.usa.com/

    On those ALL the time recently - FI applied for a job in Colorado and we were comparing cost of living there, where we lived when we met/he still lives, where I live now, and in various towns within commuting distance of the job. 

    There's also a forum that talks about places to live. I can't find it right now though, I accidentally discovered it a long time ago and don't even remember how I found it in the first place.
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  • KPBM89KPBM89 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer First Anniversary
    We used city data and zillow and lot before we moved.  We also trusted our realtor a lot because she lived in the town we were looking at and we spoke with some residents in neghborhoods for their insight.  The woman who bought the house 2 down from us said that us talking to her about the neighborhood when she was touring that house was the reason she bought that one. :)
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  • KPBM89 said:
    We used city data and zillow and lot before we moved.  We also trusted our realtor a lot because she lived in the town we were looking at and we spoke with some residents in neghborhoods for their insight.  The woman who bought the house 2 down from us said that us talking to her about the neighborhood when she was touring that house was the reason she bought that one. :)
    Did she actually give you opinions?  I've heard that it is unethical for them to do that.  The ones I've met will only give facts.  Like "this house is zoned for Washington High School" but won't say if it's a good school or not. 
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  • KPBM89KPBM89 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer First Anniversary
    mysticl said:
    KPBM89 said:
    We used city data and zillow and lot before we moved.  We also trusted our realtor a lot because she lived in the town we were looking at and we spoke with some residents in neghborhoods for their insight.  The woman who bought the house 2 down from us said that us talking to her about the neighborhood when she was touring that house was the reason she bought that one. :)
    Did she actually give you opinions?  I've heard that it is unethical for them to do that.  The ones I've met will only give facts.  Like "this house is zoned for Washington High School" but won't say if it's a good school or not. 
    We both knew absolutely nothing about Georgia when we were moving so I kept asking the realtor for her honest insight.  She made a few comments about things not being her personal opinion, probably for the unethical reason, but I know I kept asking more and more questions.  It was kind of a running joke when I would ask about specific houses and she would find the nicest way to tell me the neighborhoods were crap.
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  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I second the forums at citydata.com.  And Zillow for real estate.
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