Before purchasing a new home, it is important to nosy around the neighbourhood. You must have questions to ask neighbours in the area before you decide if the house is right for you.
Potential homebuyers don’t spend nearly enough time thoroughly examining the neighbourhood by getting out of their cars and talking to the neighbours, says Andrew Schiller, founder and CEO of NeighborhoodScout.
Yet you are unlikely to be happy if neighbouring activities, schools and people don’t fit with your lifestyle—even if the potential home has the amenities of your dreams.
As you walk the neighbourhood, prepare yourself with a few questions to ask neighbours. You are certain to find out some useful information as you meet and greet potential new friends on the block.
1. Ask about the house
Neighbours often have better insight into the history of the home and its surroundings than your REALTOR®. A house can look great and pass all of the usual inspections, but some faults may not show up. Neighbours may know if the house you want to buy suffers from hidden problems.
Did the previous owner put in a drain to address ponding problems? Neighbours might clue you into points that the seller “forgot” to mention, such as a wet basement. Alternatively, if all of the neighbours had tree roots damage their water pipes, you will know to get your home checked for similar problems.
Learning more about the condition of the house and why the sellers are selling may put you in a better bargaining position when it comes to making an offer.
2. Find out about the neighbourhood vibe
Because you will be new to the neighbourhood, ask about local amenities. Where is the best dry cleaner, dentist, hair stylist, etc.? Do they know of any house cleaners or dog walkers? Which is the friendliest church, mosque, synagogue? Where do people in the neighbourhood go for fun and to exercise?
In addition to getting a feel for the available amenities, also ask about neighbourly activities and whether people get along. Is there a neighbourhood committee? Are there regular gatherings? Do neighbours share parking spaces, responsibilities or favors? Neighbours, for instance, might take turn trimming hedges and trees on the property line. While legal documents might dictate these shared responsibilities, you also may find out about handshake agreements and determine whether you want to continue with the favours.
As you assess the neighbours, think about how long you hope to live in the home and whether you’ll be comfortable living next door for that long. A great neighbour can be wonderful, as neighbours often become good friends for life. However, an aggressive, noisy or uncooperative neighbour can make your life miserable.
3. Determine if the area is kid-friendly
The neighbourhood affects children, too. If you have kids, it’s important to ask about crime and safety, schools, as well as whether there are plenty of things to keep them occupied. Neighbours can tell you whether there has been malfeasance or loitering at night, even if such activity doesn’t show up on police reports. In addition, while the home listing might note local schools, it’s important to verify with neighbours where school district lines lie.
Consider what child-friendly activities exist, such whether there are reliable, local babysitters, good after school clubs, math tutors and summer day camps nearby.
It’s important to ask yourself whether neighbours will have a positive influence on your children during their interactions—they’ll see them much of their lives.
4. Rate your experience
Was your meeting with the neighbourhood positive? Hopefully getting to know
the neighbours was a pleasant event. You can confirm that the house really is
for you and make a few lifelong friends in the process. Who knows? They might
even invite you in for coffee and cake.
Content courtesy of www.realtor.com
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