Getting familiar with a new city/area

I prefer to invest locally where I live. But, I live about 30 minutes outside of Chicago, and I have some resources there that seem to have an abundance of good wholesale deals for rehab, whether to buy and hold or buy and sell.

My question is this - If you are unfamiliar with an area, but want to learn the trends, values, and neighborhoods, what is the best way to do this? What do you suggest, or what have you done?

I would like to get more familiar with the area, so that way if I find something that looks to be a good deal, I’ll be comfortable investing outside of my “comfort zone”.

The only sure method I know of is to get in your car and start driving and spend some time there… Yes you can hire a real estate agent to tell you what the market is like but a couple knocks on a few doors will tell you a lot about a neighborhood that a BPO or CMA wont.

When I start in a new neighborhood I like knocking on “just sold houses” and “on the market houses” and ask a few leading questions… I want to know whats wrong with the neighborhood and what concessions are being given by the sellers in the neighborhhod and more importantly what the quality of life is. I also want to knowthe economic and structual requirements that I will be dealing with.

I have also found that visiting the local grocery stores will tell me a ton about the neighborhoods…

Happy Hunting


Thanks Michael…excellent thoughts…

I like that idea.

Another idea that I used when wanting to purchase my first home in a neighborhood I wasn’t familiar with was to go on a “ride-along.”

Any citizen (at least here) can request to “ride-along” with the local police for a day. You learn which neighborhoods to say out real quick. :guns It also gives you a chance to pick the brains of the local law enforcement officers.


Go to City Hall.

Find out what plans the city has in place for the near future because the more business that comes to the area, the more jobs, the more people the more appreciation the house goes.

But I do agree, Drive by the place and see the place and is it a location that makes you comfortable.

just keep it simple.