Your real estate agent asked you a number of questions during the buyer’s consultation. Those questions helped him drill down on exactly what you’re looking for a home. You’ve narrowed the list, seen your top picks and you think you’re ready to put in your first offer.
Generally, your real estate agent will tell you all the essentials about the home you’re planning to purchase, especially the factors that may affect its listing price.
However, there are some things that only the neighbors will know.
If you’re new to the area and feeling anxious about the unknowns of a neighborhood your future neighbors may be able to answer any questions and ease your mind.
Look for a friendly face and ask your future neighbors these questions:
What is it like living here?
This is a great opening question. It will allow neighbors to share information about the things they like and dislike about the neighborhood without restrictions.
Unlike your real estate agents, your neighbors are not limited in the information they can share with you about the area. Their answer can offer realistic details and help you a grasp of what day to day life in the community looks like.
Ask as many people as you can to weigh in on the pros and cons. Online resources like NextDoor can be of help if you aren’t able to speak with anyone face to face.
If the feedback is mostly positive it’s safe to say that you’re on the right track.
If you have a chance to change anything what would it be?
After asking what they like about the neighborhood, follow up with this question.
It will allow the person you’re talking to talk about the things they dislike in the neighborhood which might affect you in the future. When asked specifically what they would change it causes the person to focus on that rather than a general overview of the experience.
How safe is the neighborhood?
It’s not unusual for home buyers to check the crime rate of a prospective neighborhood.
I recommend taking it one step further and asking the neighbors about their experiences. All crimes aren’t reported and sometimes things that would be considered more of a nuisance are only discussed amongst neighbors.
Walk around and talk about recent issues in the neighborhood. Ask if they have security installed in their homes and find out if they have a regular neighborhood watch.
How do people socialize in the neighborhood?
This question is useful in determining whether the neighborhood is right for you or not. It can also tell you what type of community the residents have.
Do they host neighbor events like:
- Backyard barbecues
- Couch karaoke
- Neighborhood haunted house
- Easter egg hunts other activities on a regular basis.
My neighborhood has all of the above which is great for me because I’m very social and have school-aged children. These things could be either a negative or positive based on your disposition but its definitely worth knowing before buying.
What has been their experience with the schools in the neighborhood?
Whether you have kids or not, schools should be a primary concern when looking for a new home. A good school district usually equates to higher property values which offer a considerable advantage when you decide to sell your house.
You can go online and search for the school’s ratings and test scores but it’s also a good idea to ask about the personal experience of neighborhood parents.
Ask them about the school, principal, and favorite teachers.
Are there any good daycares in the area?
How is the commute from this area?
You’ve probably driven around the neighborhood, visited the supermarket and got a feel for the traffic in the area.
But how’s the commute?
Asking neighbors about rush hour traffic will give you more insight into daily road conditions. You may also want to know their opinions on the metro station, park and go, and commuter bus routes.
Do you know anything about this property?
Once you have a grasp of the neighborhood vibe, now is the right time to ask questions about the property you’re considering.
Sometimes neighbors have an inside scoop on the property.
Maybe the dishwasher flooded the kitchen earlier this year.
The owners may have taken extraordinary care of the house and frequently updated it throughout the years.
The sellers may be going through a divorce or are moving out of state. Any of these items could help you during the negotiation process.
Are you thinking about buying a home soon? Check out our Steps to Buying a Home Guide. Feel free to give me a call at 703-539-2053 or email [email protected] to schedule a private showing of this or any other property.
About the Author
The above article was written by Abraham Walker, Your Northern Virginia Real Estate Agent, helping clients market their homes to achieve high sales with a quick closing time is my main priority. He’s the co-founder of Ask A Walker and can be found on YouTube, Facebook, and HERE on this blog.