What Should Go in a Welcome Basket for New Residents?

One of the benefits of working for a multifamily publication is that people actually seek out my advice when looking for an apartment. My brother recently got a job in Manhattan, so I was helping him look for an apartment. And after going back and forth about a place (and literally going back to a studio three times—his broker was a lot more patient than I was), he finally signed the lease. The stressful part is over, right?

No, for my brother, it’s just beginning. He wanted to know, how will he get to work from there? What is there to do in the neighborhood? Where could he meet other 20-something singles in the area? Was I really going to sell out my only brother and use his stress as fodder for a blog? (By the way, the answers are: crosstown bus to the subway; tons of bars, shopping and movie theaters; jDate; and duh.)

But that got me thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if when you moved into a new apartment they provided you with some goodies to help make the transition easier? Here are some things I think it would be awesome for property managers to provide in a welcome basket for their new residents to make them feel at home in their new place.

Name and number of the super, doorman, exterminator, etc. May seem obvious, but this is important information for new residents. And, sure, the first week they can introduce themselves to building employees, but if you’re getting settled in and take awhile, it’s extremely awkward to ask the super what his name is after living there for a month. And sometimes building employees are hard to track down if they don’t actually live in the building.

Champagne. Because wouldn’t that be wonderful, once people move in, for them to be able to make a toast to living in a new apartment? Or maybe they want to christen the new apartment as one would a ship. (Chill out, dude, you have their security deposit.) Either way, it’s a nice gesture.

A list of local bars, restaurants and attractions. Yes, people can look it up on their smart phones. And, yes, some of the fun of a new place is exploring the neighborhood and discovering some of the local gems. (And, wow, you have an answer for everything, don’t you? Smart aleck.) But, if you don’t know the area, you might end up going to the closest place you can find and never straying, which is why, even though I’ve been at my apartment for three years, I’m still convinced the area only has one diner, one pizzeria and two terrible Chinese places. It never hurts to have recommendations, or even some takeout menus. You can even get local businesses involved by having them offer gift certificates or coupons for new residents.

Local treats. Maybe your town is famous for its hot sauce, so you can gift a bottle. Or if a famous author grew up around there you can give a copy of the book. Or add a hat from the local sports team. (Just, you know, be cool. Don’t put a Red Sox hat in a New York welcome basket as a joke. Who would like the Red Sox, anyway?)

Intel on the neighbors. OK, this one is probably illegal. But how awesome would it be to know in advance which neighbors are noisy, which are single, which frequently bake pies and leave them on the windowsill to cool…

What else would be good to put in a welcome basket for new residents?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Photo credit: Valentyn Volkov