You’ve just found your dream house and you’re 100% ready to sign on the dotted line and buy it. It was love at first viewing, and it seems to have everything you want in a house and in a home. You’re about to reach for the nearest pen and sign your life away.
Take a deep breath. Have you spoken to the neighbours? What do they think about living in the area? Before you make a decision, you should see what people already living there think about it. You may unearth something that, a year or two down the line, will make you glad that you never signed for the house in the first place! You need to do your research.
Here are the questions you should ask.
If you could change anything about the neighborhood, what would it be?
Start broadly and get more specific as you go along. By asking your could-be-neighbours about that *one thing* that bothers them you’ll either notice that the other neighbors have said the same thing (in which case it’s almost certainly a cause for concern) or you will reveal other areas, linked to this one specific area, that might put you off buying the house altogether.
Whether it’s limited parking, a lack of nearby amenities, or that one neighbor hood dog that barks from sunrise to sundown, you’ll feel glad that you asked this vital question.
Is the neighborhood particularly social?
You’ll have found that most neighbors are, generally speaking, friendly. Friendliness is all that you can ask. However, if you want more of a social neighborhood where neighbors socialize together in the community then you need to be asking the right questions.
Is there a community feel within the area? Are there meetups organised? If sociability is important to you, then you’ll need to do a little digging.
How would you describe the area?
Another broad and open-ended question but one that will open up other talking points to discuss. You’ll put the neighbor at ease with this very general question, allowing them to spill forth any and all concerns or niggles about living in the area. Because estate agents can only say so much and you’ll get the real facts from the people who live there.
How safe is the neighborhood?
A particularly important question to ask if you have young children. You’ll get a good idea of the area’s safety with a walk or drive around the neighborhood, but you’ll get an even better impression of the area by asking those who live there. Is it safe to go out at night? Is there a nearby police station? These are exactly the kind of things you need to know.
Is there much to do around here?
Again, you’ll be able to get an idea of nearby attractions by driving around, or a quick look on Google Maps, but then again there’s nothing like a bit of insider knowledge. Whether it’s coffee shops or restaurants you’re after, you’ll find something with the right questions. This will also help the sociability aspect – if you do buy the house, you’ll be able to strike up a conversation about the nearby bars and restaurants!
Expert property market advice
If you’re a first-time buyer, there’s a chance that you have a lot to learn about the process. ET Law has a team of professionals who are more than well-versed in the area, and they’ll be able to advise you every step of the way.