As a busy real estate professional, it’s easy to get caught up in long hours at work. When you add in family demands and other commitments, you may start to feel like a stranger living in your own neighborhood. Getting to know your neighborhood better can have some surprising dividends. It’s a good way to keep your fingers on the pulse of real estate transactions in your area, plus you can make new friends and possibly meet some potential new clients. If you’re not as familiar with your neighborhood as you’d like to be, here are some things to try:
Get out and about.
You’re not going to get to know your neighborhood and neighbors by staying inside behind closed doors. Make it a point to take your dogs for walk, play with your children in the yard, or sit outside on your front porch.
Walk more than drive.
Leave your car in the garage when you can, and walk to run errands or just for exercise. As you walk, wave when you see neighbors in their yards, and stop for a quick chat. It’s also easy to stop and talk with people when you’re riding a bike.
Patronize neighborhood businesses.
Instead of driving across town to dine, eat meals at your local café. Use nearby bank branches, dry cleaners, and pharmacies. You’ll stand a better chance of interacting with people you know when you do business close to home.
Research your community’s needs and join volunteer groups or organize one yourself. For example, you could clean up and plant around neighborhood signs, start a garden club, or help plan a holiday parade or neighborhood picnic. Take the initiative and target your volunteer time to help benefit the blocks where you live.
Read about and understand issues that affect your neighborhood.
Stay keyed into local news and how your neighborhood could be impacted by proposed laws, upcoming elections, planned development, or crime statistics. Local issues can affect the quality of life in your neighborhood and sometimes even property values.
Attend garage and yard sales.
Tag sales are great ways to meet the neighbors who are selling items as well as neighbors who are shopping. You might also end up with some bargain purchases in the process.
Invite people over to your house.
You don’t have to go to the expense and trouble of a fancy dinner party to entertain your neighbors. Plan an outdoor party or cookout with a relaxed atmosphere and fun games, or invite neighbors over on a weekend morning for coffee, juice, and donuts. You can even make it potluck so that everyone brings something. Conversation should be easy – after all, you already have something in common.
Getting to know your neighborhood and neighbors better can have many social and practical advantages. It’s a good feeling to walk or drive down your street, waving at neighbors and knowing their names. It’s an even better feeling when they wave back and and remember your name, too. When clients are interested in your neighborhood, it’s helpful to be able speak with familiarity and first-hand knowledge about living there.