Real Estate 101

3 Questions to Ask Neighbors Before Buying the Home

posted by Hannah April 10, 2018 0 comments
What to Ask the Neighbors Before You Buy

Neighbors probably don’t loan you a cup of sugar these days. Still, these free and crucial resources are often highly-underutilized when it comes to buying a new home.

You might be wondering why this is necessary. You can tell a lot about a neighborhood simply by driving through. Are lawns perfectly manicured or full of garden gnomes and junk cars? But what about the neighborhoods with less extreme indicators of the type of community?

It could be a rude awakening if you decide to skip on the neighbor meet-and-greet. Meeting the neighbors can help determine if you’re compatible. It can also disclose material facts the seller forgot to mention. Here are a few questions to ask the neighbors to help you decide whether a particular home is a good fit for you.

How Long Have You Lived in the Neighborhood?

Neighborhoods with high homeownership tend to lean toward the side of more stable.

The home needs to show it will work for you for at least 5 to 7 years. A gentrified area might be great for an edgy couple. However, if the neighborhood never panned out as far as safety is concerned, the only thing edgy will be your nerves after nightly gunshots. This is especially true for those looking to grow a family in the next few years.

If you’re feeling a bit bolder, inquire about the neighbors’ home value. This should give you a feel for the value of the home you’re wanting to buy. The sales trends can also relate back to how the outside area feels about the stability of the location of the home.

What are Your Favorite and Least Favorite Aspects of Living Here?

Realtors are limited in the information they can disclose. Luckily, your neighbor doesn’t have to abide by such regulations.

By asking these types of open-ended questions, you could discover a potential wealth of realistic information. Although you could technically gather answers from these questions by simply walking around, often things are not always how they seem.

For example, a neighbor could love the close proximity to local services and amenities but hate how much traffic the neighborhood sees because of this location. Or, the neighbor could love the quiet, peaceful lifestyle of a home located on the outskirts of town. But, this could also mean they dislike the commute into the city, especially when it comes to their 9 to 5 workday commute.

A word to the wise? Just remember everybody’s opinion can be different. Be wary when it comes to disclosing the exact location of the home in question. A personal relationship with the seller could taint a neighbor’s response. Don’t discredit your own perception when it comes to gathering the general vibe of the neighborhood.

You could also inquire as to whether or not the neighbors get along. This is a great question for discovering if you will be able to get along with the community as well.

It might be a good sign if the neighbors enjoy socializing. However, it depends on what type of activities they enjoy. Amenities catering to the active adult lifestyle, such as our Freedom communities, might not fit the lifestyle needs of a culturally-savvy urbanist.

Have You Ever Noticed Anything Odd about the Home?

Even in the most private neighborhoods, people know what’s happening in your home. This isn’t to say it’s ok to give someone a free pass to peak through your blinds or spy on you via binoculars.

Instead, this is best to figure out little “tidbits” the seller might have “accidentally” left out. Notice the sarcastic air quotes? Those were intentional.

This can include asking about any type of damaging event, such as a flood in the basement. This could be due to a one-off case, or a concern regarding root problems or a high-water table. If an area is prone to flooding, you should always be in the know. Especially when it comes to knowing what type of insurance to purchase.

If you need some topics to help further prompt the discussion, start with the people who resided in the home. What were they like? Quiet? Clean? Loud? How well did they maintain the property? All you need to do is ask and the neighbors will flood you with information. It may be positive or negative, but you will learn details of the home and its previous tenants.

Long story short? Neighbors love to talk. Learn about the life of the house from the people who’ve watched it over the years.

Final Thoughts

Talking to neighbors before buying could be a lifesaver. This doesn’t just help with making a major buying mistake by moving into a neighborhood that doesn’t suit your lifestyle needs.

When you meet your neighbors, you instantly get a sense of community. By speaking directly to your neighbors, you get to know the personality type of those who live in your area. In return, you could open your world to a new group of close friends thanks to shared interests.

Do you agree it’s important to get to know your neighbor? What is the most important question a home buyer should ask a potential neighbor? What are the things you wish that you’d asked your neighbors before purchasing a home? Any additional questions you feel are pertinent to ask that we might have left off? We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave any additional feedback in the comments section below. 

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