Relocating to Hartford: Picking a Town

So you’re thinking of moving to the Hartford area? That’s great – it’s quite lovely here!

Scion of the Charter Oak, in Bushnell ParkHave you thought about which town you might want to move to – where to put down roots? Greater Hartford is made up of lots of small towns that each have their own character, strengths and weaknesses. The challenge is that what may be a strength to one buyer is a weakness to another.

If you have a job lined up, then I’m sure that your future coworkers have been generous about sharing their views on where you should live. People are very opinionated on that subject. You’ll quickly realize that they’re advocating for the town/area that they live in. And that they’re also warning you about towns/areas that they know very little about other than what “people say.” Unless they know you pretty well, it’s probably best to do your own research – how do they know what you will like?

How do you research different towns? I’m glad you asked. We help people relocation to Greater Hartford regularly and have some suggestions.

The best way to check out a town is to come visit.

Drive around the business district(s) and neighborhoods to get a sense of what they are like. Walk the streets at different times of the day to see how you feel. It’s interesting to see how people respond to the different towns when we take them on a tour. Most have a mental image of what kind of town they want to live in – they don’t know how to articulate it well but they know it when they see it.

Another important step is to investigate the expenses and amenities of each town.

On the expense side, how do the property taxes compare to other towns? Almost all the towns in the area can be compared on an apples to apples basis using mill rates. The City of Hartford cannot because it uses a dramatically different tax system than everyone else. The Town of West Hartford, at the time of this writing (Jan 2012), is also tricky because of a frozen phase-in that will hopefully be resolved by Jul 2012.

Connecticut has motor vehicle taxes at the town level. So you will be taxed on the value of your car in addition to the value of your home.

On the amenities side, you can check out the parks and libraries they have, whether they do curbside trash, recycling, and/or leaf collection, how the schools are organized and perform. You can also research crime statistics for the community.

Finally, you’ll need to figure out if the town has the kind of housing you’re looking for.

To get there, you’ll need to do some thinking on your own.
– What kind of environment you like – urban, suburban, rural?
– Do you want a single-family home, or would you consider a condo or multi-family?
– Are you interested in historic, or more architecturally ornate homes?
– Would you prefer a newer, more energy efficient home?
– What are you hoping to have for a commute?
– Are there other criteria that are very important to you?

Greater Hartford has just about everything out there. Knowing what you would ideally like to find will help narrow the options quickly since each individual town has different housing types.

The quick way to sort through the different towns is to work with a real estate agent, like us. We’re happy to take some time to tour the different towns with you – show you the highlights and provide some commentary. We can also tell you which towns to look in for your preferred type of home.

Congratulations on moving to Greater Hartford … just let us know if we can help!