Questions To Ask Neighbors Before Buying A Home
1. Since how long have you been living here?
Individuals and families generally don't prefer to let go of their homes or communities if they have been residing in it for some years, and feel happy about it. If families have been consistently residing in the area for some years it's a good sign, however if homes are frequently advertised for rental purposes in the vicinity, it may be an indication that the particular area in not conductive for residential purposes, and you ought to think twice before giving an affirmative answer to the current homeowner.
2. Do you have any idea or information why the homeowner has put up the home for sale?
It's a harmless question to ask, and the answer can provide you with some idea why the homeowner is selling. If the owner has an ongoing home or mortgage loan that he or she is unable to repay, chances are the owner might be planning to sell off and buy a more affordable dwelling elsewhere in which case you could use the point to your benefit at the time of negotiations. Whatever the answer may be, it's important to know the reason why the seller is moving out and selling.
3. How do you feel about the neighborhood and personal safety?
If dogs barking at night, kids screaming all day along, construction noises, or loud partying tend to upset or disturb you, it's suggested you inquire about the same with the neighbors well in advance before even meeting the homeowner in person. If you or your family members need to commute on a frequent or daily basis and require to use the public transportation systems, it's worth checking out with the neighbors if it's safe to move out or arrive at late night hours in nearby areas. Moreover, frequent visits from the law enforcement personnel might suggest a high crime rate, or the presence of a local gang in the vicinity, or worse - possible drug dealers operating in the area. Even a casual enquiry or talk with the neighbors can help you get an idea about the kind of home and neighborhood you're likely to live in if you buy the house.
4. What are the local public schools like?
Very few parents can afford to send their kids to special private schools. If you are required to send your kids to the local public school, check out with the neighbors what schools in the neighborhood are like – if there's a bullying problem, if the school prefers sporting events over academics, or if teaching levels are not up to the mark. The information won't be available with the realtor, and if the owner happens to know about it, he or she is not likely to share it with you in advance.
5. What do you feel about the Home Owner's Association (HOA)?
Most areas or communities have a HOA these days, and people are required to follow their rules and regulations. It's a good idea to check out with the neighbor if they feel happy with the way HOA associated with the particular area or community is handling things. Once you buy the home, you're required to follow their rules and regulations, and if you don't like them, there's nothing you can do about it - you may have to live with it.