When the time comes to purchase a house, one of the first criteria that must be observed is the neighborhood - particularly if you have young children! But how can we be adequately informed on a neighborhood when we don't know anyone who lives there? One word: Facebook.

Social media can be a source of much wasted time or fake news, but they can sometimes fulfill their primary goal: as a social network. By knowing how to search the furthest-flung corners of the web, you can get into contact with future neighbors, teachers at the neighborhood's elementary school or former residents of the neighborhood who have moved out and will be glad to give you the information you seek.

4 simple ideas to get started

So, where to start? First, understand that many neighborhoods have "Spotted" pages. Spotted Montreal-North, Spotted Laval, etc. These pages allow you to ask anonymous questions, since the questions are sent directly to the page's administrator, who then publishes them to the page. Although many of the posts can be rather wacky, these pages are follows by thousands of very active people.

Alors, par où commencer ? Sachez que plusieurs quartiers ont des pages « Spotted ». Spotted Montréal-Nord, Spotted Laval, etc. Ces pages vous permettent de poser des questions de manière anonyme, puisqu’on envoie la question désirée à l’administrateur, qui se charge de la publier. Bien que plusieurs des publications soient parfois loufoques, ces pages sont suivies par des milliers de personnes très actives.

Read: Which neighborhoods in Greater Montreal are the most valuable?

Another possibility: join private parent groups in the desired sector. Indeed, many parents (mostly moms, to be perfectly honest) create neighborhood groups to discuss potential activities, school, daycares, etc. Joining such a group will make it easy to look for reference and will allow you to take a neighborhood's pulse. All you need to do is type in a few keywords like "parents" and "Rosemont" in the search bar!

Another simple idea: look towards your own network of contacts and acquaintances by writing up a Facebook status asking for references. We all know someone who knows someone, and people are often ready and willing to share their experiences or knowledge.

Finally, following the official Facebook page of the desired neighborhood or borough will give you an idea of services and activities offered.

Get your keyboards ready!