In South-Eastern Poland there’s an ancient village called Zalipie where all the houses are covered in painted flowers.

Legend has it that the tradition began over a century ago as a way for villagers to cover up the soot stains from their wood-burning stoves.

But that’s not all…

Every spring since 1948 the town has held a Painted Cottage Competition where all the town’s women face off in a house-flower-painting contest.  Through the years the painted surfaces have spread and now include almost everything from houses and barns to bridges and churches.

Ever wonder what’s really going on in the neighborhoods you’re considering?

When searching for a new home one of the most difficult things to figure out is what it’s actually like to live in the neighborhoods you’re considering.

You can drive through the neighborhood and get some idea but that isn’t really going to paint a complete picture.  You may be able to go inside a couple houses that are for sale but that only gives you a peek at those particular houses.

What about the neighborhood itself?  Is it a quiet community or an active community?

Do the home owners rally around each other like family or complain about every little thing while you’re out in the yard?

Are residents respectful of little children playing out front or do they recklessly speed through the neighborhood like it’s the Indianapolis 500?

Sometimes you can find out information about a particular neighborhood from friends or family.  And your Realtor might have some insight as well.  But in many cases you’d be wise to conduct some research of your own.

Fortunately today’s technology makes that a little easier.  There are now websites and apps that can help you.

Here’s a few to get you started. is a great website that provides helpful information for anyone looking to relocate to another city.  The website has an active forum made up of locals who actually live in the different cities you’re considering.

Search through existing topics or post a new question and get a reply from the locals.  It’s a great way to learn about an area and get a feel for what it would be like to actually live there!

Once you’ve narrowed down your options and decided on a particular area you can visit for another level of insight.  What’s unique about is the ranking system.

All communities on are given a ranking that’s based on ratings provided by local users.  This type of system was specifically created to give visitors a way to review specific neighborhoods.

By now you should have been able to find neighborhood reviews and possibly even gotten some questions answered by local residents in the forums.  But there still might be some information you’re missing.

If so, try  This website is great for providing statistics about things like home value appreciation and crime rates.  This site may require you to subscribe but it does provide another level of depth that may be helpful.

If you know you’re going to be moving to Melbourne Florida area, or even if you already live here, you’ll find to be a great source for extensive neighborhood information.

Since we’re right here in the Melbourne area we take a deep dive into every community we spotlight and try to give you an idea of what life is actually like when living in those neighborhoods.

We drive the neighborhoods, take pictures and video and interact with the home owners.  We inquire about community events, explore the neighborhood amenities and learn what’s unique about each community.

A new neighborhood is typically added to the site each week and includes other helpful information about local restaurants and entertainment venues.  We also take a look at proximity to employers, schools, medical facilities and more.

Rating Apps like Foursquare and Yelp

There are also some helpful mobile apps you can check out.

A couple common ones that provide good rating information about local businesses are Foursquare and Yelp.  We’re all fairly familiar with customer reviews from apps like these but did you know they also offer information about community events and access to monthly forums?

You can even get some idea about the services offered in an area like historic districts, museums, parks and theaters.  And of course these apps can easily be downloaded on to your mobile phone or tablet.

Finding the perfect home can be hard.  Finding out what’s really going on in the neighborhoods you’re considering can be even harder.

Is there a Painted Cottage Competition going on every year in the neighborhood you’re considering? 

Want some help finding out?  Click here to schedule a free strategy call.