Tips for Settling Into Your New Community with Ease

For home buyers, it can be both exciting and overwhelming to move into a new community. There are endless questions, from where to buy clothes for the kids and find out who gives music lessons, to how do you find a trustworthy babysitter and what is the best yoga class in town?   But if you are moving to Westchester, have no fear; it is just like Manhattan, but with trees! There are so many services, activities, events, and opportunities available, you will only feel mildly frustrated that you cannot take advantage of them all.

Initially, your Realtor will be your primary source of information. Even before you move into your new home, he/she will put you in touch with moving companies, local utility services, home-security firms, and TV/Internet providers to ensure that your move goes smoothly. If your Realtor is local to your town, he/she should be able to provide you with current contact details for a selection of local contractors, including landscaping companies, house painters, locksmiths, chimneysweeps, decorators, and handymen. You should also ask for links to any newcomers or expatriate groups in town.

Your Realtor will be able to point you to publicly available information about local schools in your area, and pass on details of area pre-schools, houses of worship, recreational offerings. He/she can even put you in touch with past clients who have bought or rented in your area, which will help you get your own network of contacts started.

Of course, the Internet is an obvious goldmine of local information for recent home buyers. Try googling your local town or city website; you will most likely be able to find property tax information, along with local rules and regulations on renovating or building in your town, as well as taking down trees or snow-removal. Your local YMCA, sports clubs and facilities, arts centers, and libraries will all have their own websites, and your local newspapers and magazines will be a treasure’s trove of ads for shopping, restaurants, service providers, and contractors. Local online newspapers and blogs are also chock-full of information about community events, shops, and services.

Last but not least, don’t forget the old, tried-and-true method of communication: paper. You will be amazed at the usefulness of community bulletin boards, where you can find ads for a wide variety of services, from dog walking to tag sales. Sometimes a back-to basics approach can work just as well as today’s modern technology.

Fiona Dogan is a Licensed Realtor® in the Rye office of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty. She is a Westchester Five Star Real Estate Agent, Platinum Award winner, and an Accredited Buyer Representative. For more information, please contact Fiona Dogan at: or visit her website at

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