Acclimating to a New Community – Helping You Find Your Way

In my article, “Finding a New Home – What Cities/Towns are Right for Me?” I discussed targeting towns for your move; specifically, identifying the location based on common priorities of relocators.  In this article I will discuss the steps involved after you have made the move to your new home. Based on an Allied Van Lines survey of 1,000 relocators, 33.9% identified, “acclimating to a new community” as their biggest challenge to relocation.  Below I have provided some insight into why some struggle to acclimate and how to overcome those struggles.  

Attitude, Outlook and Support: Relocating is hard; especially when it is unexpected and unwelcomed.  This is exemplified if you are more introverted and have no friends and family nearby.  The hustle and bustle of your move has most likely just taken over your focus for the last several weeks or months, but it is finally over and you are now faced with adjusting to your new community.  My advice is to stay positive, keep an open mind and don’t stress. Maintain your focus, but direct your energy toward your new goal. Do not classify this as a job, but rather a new adventure.  

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If you are unfamiliar with your new surroundings and don’t know where to start, I would advise you to start with your realtor.  Remember, any good realtor will be looking to help you adjust by providing information about the town and what it has to offer you based on your needs and interests.  In most cases your realtor will be able to connect you with people in town that have similar interests and can help navigate you to those things that will help you feel more at home in your new community.  Also, if you are being relocated through your business, I would advise you to meet with your Human Resource or Relocation team and have them connect you with other employees that live in the same area and/or have recently relocated.  Finding a colleague with similar interests and life circumstances can provide a significant level of support to help you maintain a positive attitude early on in your move. Both your realtor and business support teams may be able to initiate these introductions prior to your move allowing you to hit the ground running with new relationships immediately.  Finally, maintain communications with the family and friends you will be moving away from and schedule visits when possible. Moving away does not mean you have to go it alone. Being able to share new experiences and struggles with those you feel closest to can help minimize negativity and unhappiness during this time.  

Introduction(s):  Prepare for the uncomfortable.  Initiating conversations with people we don’t know can be difficult; however, it may be easiest in a new neighborhood.  Often times neighbors are just as interested in meeting you as you are in meeting them. Take some time to walk around your neighborhood and introduce yourself.  When you see someone working in their yard, walking their dog or playing with their kids take the time to say hello. Ask about the neighborhood and events that may take place there that you can get involved in (i.e, neighborhood block parties).  Make mention of your interests. This can spark conversation with those that have similar interests and can lead to more information on the broader landscape of community activities. Exchange contact information and ask if they can include you in communications throughout the neighborhood.

Take the time to participate in community events.  A few examples could include: 

  • Schools and Youth Activities - if you are relocating with school age kids get involved with the PTO or school fundraisers or community service initiatives.  Youth activities, such as travel sports, theater, dance, STEM clubs will help to introduce you to other families in the community.        

  • Sports or Health and Wellness - If you enjoy sports or health and wellness activities, attend a local high school sporting event, find a local gym or YMCA or research recreational sports groups in town (i.e., running, tennis, hockey, etc).  Most towns will include this information in local newspapers or online news outlets.   

  • Religious Organization – Check to see if the local house of worship in town has a website or contact number to help you connect with someone with information about the organization and its parishioners.  Most organizations now provide an option on their websites that are geared towards those new to town.  

  • Library – Go to the town library and visit the website.  Most libraries provide information on upcoming events and public services provided.  Find an event of interest and make an effort to attend.    

Simply put, attending events of interest to you can help you start building relationships with people in relatable life situations and/or with similar hobbies.             

Exploration: Often times those relocating can immerse themselves in work and day to day chores preventing them from experiencing the things that could make them most happy in their new environment.  Pick a mode of transportation (walk, run, bike, drive or Uber) and set aside a few hours each week to explore your new town and surrounding areas. Familiarize yourself with local bakeries, restaurants, outdoor facilities, museums, and theaters to name a few.  Educate yourself on what makes your new town attractive to you and take advantage of those things. This will help you to stay positive and enjoy your new surroundings.  

Time: Successfully acclimating to a new town will not happen overnight and will require effort on your part.  Try to set reasonable goals for yourself and allow adequate time before you deem your move a success or failure.  From personal experience I would advise giving yourself at least a year. This should give you time to adjust to your new surroundings, identify what the community has to offer and meet people with similar interests.  

To reiterate, relocating is hard.  There is no magic formula to successfully acclimating to a new town.  Early on in your transition, discomfort will most likely present itself daily.  Don’t let this discourage you; stay focused and positive, explore the community, engage those around you and set realistic goals.  By doing so you will find your way.

Kerrin Sears is a sales associate at Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, which offers a team of more than 625 licensed professionals and staff working out of 13 offices throughout Northern and Central New Jersey. Regional Offices are located in Summit, Short Hills, Alpine, Edgewater, Englewood Cliffs, Franklin Lakes, Hoboken, Montclair, Montville, Ridgewood, Saddle River, Tenafly and Westfield.

For more information about Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, visit prominentproperties.com or call the Summit regional office at 908-273-8808 or stop by at 309 Springfield Avenue.