Thinking of Buying a Home? Talk to the Neighbors First

There are many questions you can ask your real estate agent when it comes to the home you are contemplating buying, and many questions you could ask the seller of the home. Some of the most invaluable resources, however, are your friendly neighborhood neighbors. Politely approaching the neighbors living on your street can give you the biggest insight into the house and the neighborhood in which you might soon be spending a large percentage of your future. With that in mind, what are some of the questions you might want to ask the neighbors?

1) What is the neighborhood like? Do you enjoy living here?

While this is a very open ended question, it’s also the perfect ice-breaker, and can actually reveal a great deal depending on your neighbor’s experiences in the community. Generally, you’ll hear about the things they think are great in the area, as well as things they hate.

2) Is the neighborhood friendly? Do people socialize?

Whether the response you hear to this is good or bad depends what you’re looking for in your neighborhood. If you are of retirement age and are looking for peace and quiet, discovering that loud social events happen on a frequent basis might mean the neighborhood will have issues for you. Much as if you are a social person looking for a lot of interactions with the neighborhood, discovering that the community is quiet and uneventful wouldn’t be ideal.

3) If there’s one thing you could change about this street, what would it be?

Obviously, this is a question where you’ll hear people’s biggest negative thoughts about the neighborhood. Maybe a troublesome family, dogs being left outside at all hours barking late at night, any sort of crime which might have been infesting the community. If any of these are deal-breakers for you, it could be a good idea to look elsewhere.

4) What are the local schools like? Are any better than others?

This is a subject that your realtor won’t broach, so asking neighbors is essential if you have children, but can also give you a good insight into the neighborhood even if you don’t have kids. Good reputable schools often indicate the wealth of a neighborhood, which is reflected in the house prices. If you do have children, hearing feedback on the various schools nearby can help with decision making when it comes to the schooling your child will have.

5) Are there any issues with this property or those in the immediate vicinity?

This is a question to ask the nearby neighbors – those who have been in the area for many years will probably know a lot about the problems previous owners of the property have had and may be quite open in divulging such information. You may discover annual problems with the home, ie issues with the winter freeze, or you may even get an idea of why the current owner is leaving.

So before you make a decision on a home, have a walk around the neighborhood and don’t be afraid to talk to your neighbors – after all, they may very well soon be your neighbors for years to come. Call The Tom Team to discuss how we can help you find your ideal new neighborhood.