Searching the house market is tedious. It seems like every time you find your dream house, there’s something wrong with it. Bad neighbors are a huge turn-off from buying a house, but not all bad neighbors are as obvious as others. It’s easy to know that a house probably has a bad neighbor when the house is in shambles, the yard is unkempt and there is junk in the yard. Signs of a pet that isn’t cleaned up after and garbage piled up to what could have been your potential yard will drive you away. No one needs a guide telling them to avoid these houses.
You can’t expect the home seller to tell you about bad neighbors just because you ask. You need to look at the more nitty-gritty details. Look for weeds in the gardens up and down the streets. Signs like couches and chairs on porches could be a warning of potential night dwellers. Swing by the neighborhood in the middle of the night, especially on weekends and scope out for party houses. Look for anything that might put up a red flag.
When the physical appearance of the neighborhood checks out, do investigation on the people. Going online will easily allow you to check if your potential new neighbors have a criminal record. A man may seem like the most charming neighbor in the world, but if he’s a sex offender you don’t want him to be near your children. Talk to the people in the neighborhood and see what they say about each other. Take the time to know who these people are before you start living around them and make sure that you know if you’re going to have a nosey neighbor before they get into your business.
What’s worse than a bad neighbor is an unavoidable circumstance. Moving into a city development area or near a power plant is like having the worst neighbors in the world. You could end up dealing with loud construction noises on your day off or bright lights from the power station at night. Knowing what is happening in the neighborhood and what surrounds it can save you lots of trouble in the long run.
Finding a dream home can be hard when you know that you have to deal with the homes around it too. The possibility of dealing with loud partiers, nosey neighbors and possibly even criminals is bad enough, but you also have to look at things the city or town is doing. The worst part is knowing that the perfect fit isn’t perfect anymore, but do your research first or you’ll regret it later.
Here are some of the best resources for learning about your potential new home and new neighborhood.
Your Realtor is your first line of defense against bad neighbors. Always work with a Realtor who is a buyer’s agent, and who will be representing YOUR interests in helping you find your new home. Generally, real estate agents – especially those that live in the communities where they work – know the community well. It’s their job. Keep in mind, though, that your Realtor will only know what has been shared with her with regards to the house, so be prepared to do your own research as well.
Many communities have a police blotter or a news feed that lists police activity. Check the local newspaper website for court records or for a police blotter to see if there is significant police activity on your new block.
Make a visit to the neighborhood without your Realtor and chat with neighbors up and down the street. Be open about your purpose. Tell them you’re considering moving into the neighborhood and ask them to name the best and worst things about living there. You’ll be amazed how much you can learn with a few questions.
Online Community Boards
Among the best sources of information about a community are discussion boards like those at www.city-data.com. The city-data.com forum features discussion boards for most larger cities and a lot of small towns in the U.S. where you can ask about the neighborhood, the schools and just about anything else you want to know. Residents are extremely open and forthcoming about the pros and cons of living in their cities, and you may even make new friends.
Dig into the local newspaper’s back issues to see what’s going on in town. It will give you a good feel for the important issues and any upcoming changes that may make a difference in your new home.
When you buy a new home, you’re planning on staying there for a good long while. No matter how much you love the house itself, your neighbors and the community around you will have a huge effect on how happy you are in your new home. Take the time to research your neighbors as well as you do your new home to ensure that you’ll be a good fit with the new neighbors.