Moving Soon? How to Find + Research Safe Neighborhoods in Your New City
The words "safe neighborhood" are included in just about every text or email I get from people looking to move. It's no surprise that you want to live in an area you consider safe, but everyone has a different definition of what feels safe to them. This is why I wanted to share some tools to help you navigate this issue.
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Real estate agents are not supposed to share their views on the safety of various neighborhoods, as it's against our code of ethics and violates the Fair Housing Act. Answering questions based on what we consider safe can get us into trouble both legally and ethically. Please understand why we cannot answer that question directly, but we can tell you about resources so you can make that decision based on your own research.
We live in a time where information is right at our fingertips, so the search will start online.
Realtor.com is a great place to start. Put your new city's name in the search criteria, click on any listing - then click the map. You'll see useful icons - but I will be focusing mainly on the CRIME button. Zoom out and you'll be able to see areas shaded based on crime statistics.
I also highly encourage you to check out city, municipality, and county websites for direct crime information and detailed maps.
Here are some in the Tampa Bay area:
CITY OF TAMPA
Another website that I have found helpful for United States crime statistics is crimemapping.com - many cities are featured.
One more thing you may want to look at is a sexual offender / predator map for the state you're moving to. Florida's version allows you to search by address to see where registered offenders live in proximity to the address.
STATE OF FLORIDA SEXUAL PREDATOR MAP
Obviously, maps can only tell you so much - but they are a solid starting point.
Next - spend time and the money to visit where you want to live. Go to restaurants and shops, talk to locals. If you're a parent - find a local playground and talk to other parents. Go to potential schools and meet with administrators.
Look up social media pages for that community to get information on prospective neighborhoods.
Lots of factors go into deciding where you want to live, and safety is at the top of the priority list for most buyers and renters. The reality is - no location is 100% crime-free and everyone has a different opinion on what is safe to them. Take your time and do your research.
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Melanie is a Tampa Bay area Realtor with Smith & Associates. She loves Tampa Bay area area, houses, and helping clients buy and sell real estate. She can be reached at 813-368-6084 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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