before you do: determine your motivation(s)

Before you move into a transitional neighborhood, list your motivations of why you want to be there (and what you want to accomplish). Here’s a list of some possible reasons you may have (and, I promise, I know people with all of these):

“I want a great, old house for a low price.”
“I want to better my city.”
“I hate the ‘burbs.”
“I’m a yuppie, it sounds cool, and it’s what I am supposed to do.”
“I have white guilt, so I’d like to give back to a community.”
“It’s a trend in my area, and I know the house and neighborhood will increase in value.”
“I see potential here.”
“This neighborhood is already in transition, so it’s a sure bet.”
“The neighborhood next to it is already gentrified, so it’s only a matter of time for this one to become gentrified.”
“I want a different experience than what I was exposed to as a child.”
“I want to make a difference.”

Whatever your reason(s) may be, it’s better to have multiple reasons. While you may find a neighborhood and determine some immediate goals, the goals will become clear once you’ve become established. Those goals may be things like:
“I want that drug house gone.”
“I want to keep my street clean of litter.”
“I want that business that sells rolling papers and 40s shut down.”

These goals will get frustrating, very frustrating. So, before you decide to make the plunge, decide how strongly you feel about the reason(s) to move there. Really consider how you will handle hard situations: for example, there is a group fight on your street, and the police have not arrived after you called 20 minutes ago. Then, the cops arrive only after a gun has gone off. That will be a bad night; can you get over a bad night? There are GREAT reasons to move into a transitional area, but you need to know that it can be easy to get lost in the small goals and forget those motivations.

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