7 Questions You Must Ask Neighbors Before You Buy


After months of searching, you find what appears to be the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood. And you even score a killer deal! Everything is peaceful, at least in the beginning.Then, things become strange. Chilling voices emanate from the fireplace. Flies swarm the windows. The eerie tree in the back yard tries to snack on one of your children, and the cat disappears through a portal in the closet. As you frantically repack your belongings, you lament, “If only I had asked the neighbors a few questions BEFORE I bought this cursed house!”

SEE ALSO: 5 Questions You Need To Ask At An Open House

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

Though the frightening supernatural events described above are most common in movies like Poltergeistand The Amityville Horrorthings aren’t always what they seem when you buy a home. What may appear perfect on the days you’re touring the property could prove less than ideal once you’ve moved in. While the real estate agent is required, in many states, to disclose anything that may affect marketability, what’s disturbing to you may not bother her at all. And sellers may be reluctant to discuss non-obvious faults for fear of scaring you away. Your best bet to get the real skinny on the neighborhood? Talk to the neighbors.

Essential Questions For The Joneses

1. What Do You Like Best About The Area?

From good schools to the local bakery, from friendly neighbors to low property taxes, people have many reasons for choosing to live where they do. If the neighbors are full of good things to say, it’s a positive indication that you’re on the right track with your home purchase.

2. What Do You Like Least About Living Here?

Maybe the morning commute to midtown is miserable from this location. Perhaps there are college-age renters throwing keggers every weekend. You can glean insight into your own potential happiness when you consider the reasons the neighbors find the area less than perfect.

3. Do You Know Anything About The Previous Owners?

Answers to this question may give you an idea about how the previous owners maintained the property, as well as issues that led to its sale. For example, you could learn that the basement floods every spring, or there were numerous break-ins on the property.

4. How Would You Describe The Neighborhood Noise Level?

If screaming kids, barking dogs, construction commotion, or loud parties drive you crazy, this is definitely an essential question to ask. If you work from home, make sure you specifically enquire about the daytime noise level, as well.

5. How Often Do The Police Or Emergency Vehicles Show Up?

A frequent police presence can indicate a high crime rate, as well as a gang, or drug dealing in the area.

6. Do Most Of The Families Get Along?

You don’t want a property situated between the Hatfields and McCoys. Enough said.

7. What Do You Think About The Home Owner’s Association?

HOA’s are necessary evils these days. If the neighbors are happy with the actions of theirs, it’s a definite check in the positive column. Consider what you learn from your neighbors carefully. While their homes and yard maintenance may influence your property values, their behavior can affect your actual enjoyment of your new abode. If those you approach have nothing good to say, are openly hostile, or refuse to interact with you at all, it could be an indication that you’d be better off buying somewhere else.

SEE ALSO: 5 Items You Must Review In HOA Documents

Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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