Before You Buy a Home Investigate the Neighborhood… 4 Questions to Ask.
I sell homes, I do not sell neighbors.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a closer look at what’s going on around the houses that I’ve shown you to determine the best places for you to live. Actually, one of the first suggestions I pass on to all home buyer clients is ‘walk the neighborhood’ once in the evening and once on a weekend day. Chat with the neighbors along the way. Are too many people parked on the road and will this be a problem for you? Can you hear constantly barking dogs or rowdy backyard parties spilling into the street? Is your neighborhood a shortcut for drivers during rush hour? Whether your taste runs to casual or formal, do the neighbors care for their landscaping in the same way that you will?
By Kelly Burch
It’s tough to get an accurate feel for a neighborhood—especially if you’re new to the area. Sure, you can check crime rates with the police department, do online research about schools and interview school officials, check out local events and businesses. But there’s another super-simple thing you can do to uncover a wealth of localized information: Talk to the neighbors. Who knows the area better than the people who already live there?
Although it might seem awkward to approach strangers before or after looking at a house, savvy buyers will make a habit of it.
Here are five insightful questions that will help you uncover some useful info.
1. “How would you describe the area, and do you like living here?”
An open-ended question allows folks to spill whatever comes to mind – often the things that they love and hate the most about their neighborhood. Neighbors can offer realistic information about neighborhood safety, demographics, and anything else you’d like to know.
Focus on getting a good feel for the neighborhood vibe. Be sure to ask several neighbors the same questions, so you can get average out their replies.
2. “If you could change anything about the neighborhood, what would it be?”
This is the perfect follow-up, allowing the person you’re speaking with to discuss any drawbacks to the area, such as parking, noise or other small annoyances that might possibly become big disruptions for you.
3. “Do local schools have a reputation for being strong or weak in a certain areas?’”
Even if you don’t have kids, schools are a definite concern unless you’re moving to an Active Adult Community. A good school district generally translates into higher property values. You never know who your next home buyer will be and buyers with families will want to be looking for the best school districts.
4. “What’s the social environment in the neighborhood?”
Were you hoping for backyard barbecues and karaoke parties? Running partners or wine buddies? Do you prefer peaceful, or do you find quiet to be disconcerting? Find out whether you’re a good fit for this particular neighborhood.