Seriously, when I have a buyer from out of the area, I suggest that they do their homework first. And, sometimes that has some very odd requirements on the agenda.
I tell most of my clients that are moving to a new area, to first visit the local McDonald's (or any other fast food restaurant) prior to going and looking at homes. Of course, they always scratch their head and look at me like I need a McBrain Surgery, but when I explain my reasoning, they all seem to understand and before I know it, they are ordering a Happy Meal.
I know, many of you are wondering why... Well, before my days as a Realtor, I was a transplant from Georgia to California (hence my credentials on relocation). Our agent was dutifully carrying us around from hood to hood, and then would drop us off at the end of the day.... tired and exhausted and in need of a fast fix on food. Of course, we would venture to the nearest fast food restaurant which led us to realize that we were either in a good 'hood or not.
I think you can probably see where I'm going with this now... I cannot tell you how many people have complimented me on my strategy for telling them to focus on fast food. They take their children into the local venues and can quickly tell whether this is a place the is suitable to their lifestyle. You can see if the neighborhood kids are coming back from soccer or if the place is empty on Saturday afternoon then you may figure that there are not many children in that area.
Whatever you figure out from the experience, it is what makes you feel comfortable in the neighborhood that you choose to live.
What strategies do you have that are kind of "off the wall"? Would love to hear from you.