Choosing the ideal neighbourhood for yourself and your family is daunting. With so many factors at play, how will you know if you are choosing correctly? One of the best ways to gather information about an area of interest is by talking to prospective neighbours. Their first-hand experiences will give deeper insight into the neighbourhood and it’s residents, as well as help you decide if the area is the right fit for you and your family. Don’t know what questions to ask? Keep reading to see my top questions to ask the neighbours before buying a home.
How long have you lived here?
If they have lived in the neighbourhood for a few years or longer, they can speak to changes, benefits and disadvantages of the area. They may also be able to give you an idea as to how long people typically live in the area and how it and it’s demographic has changed over the years.
What is it like living in this neighbourhood?
Asking open ended questions allows your potential neighbour to fully share their experience in the community and give you insight that only someone who lives in the area would have. They can offer information that your realtor may not have access to, like their first-hand accounts of safety, demographics, schools, and more.
If you could change anything about the neighbourhood, what would it be?
This follow-up question is a great way to get a bit more information about any drawbacks, such as lack of parking, barking dogs, loud neighbours, or other annoyances.
How safe is this neighbourhood?
Checking crime rates of potential neighbourhoods is part of the home search process, but not all crimes and safety matters are reported. Speaking with people who live in the area about their experiences will give you valuable information that you cannot find anywhere else.
Follow up questions to this would be:
- “Is it common to install security cameras and systems in this area?”
- "Is there a neighbourhood watch?”
What is the community like? How do people socialize with neighbours?
Are you looking for a close knit, supportive and involved community with barbeques and parties or do you prefer to keep to yourself? How your potential neighbour answers this question will let you know if you and your family would be a good fit.
Is this neighbourhood kid and/or pet friendly?
How a potential neighbour answers this question could either set your mind at ease or bring up more questions. Follow up questions would be:
- "What are the ages of the kids in this area?”
- "Do the children play together or tend to stick to their own homes/groups?”
- "Are there many pet-owners in the area?”
- “What has been your experience walking your dog in this area?”
- "Are there many outdoor animals in the neighbourhood?”
What is your experiance with the schools in the area?
Even if you do not have children, the status of the local school district should be of interest to you as it can impact the value of your property when you sell in the future. If you do have school-age children, this question can potentially give your answers that cannot be answered by browsing the school board's website.
How do you find your commute?
Asking about rush hour traffic and their daily commutes to school or work will help you gauge if this neighbourhood is situated well for your day-to-day needs.
How does everyone in the community get along?
This may be opening a door to gossip, but it is how someone answers this question that is key, not the actual answer itself. Pay close attention to how they speak of their neighbours and any comments made. This will give you further insight into the relationship between those in the area.
Is there anything I should be aware of about this property?
This question is optional and one you may not ask every person you talk to. If you feel comfortable disclosing which property you are interested in, the neighbours may be able to give information that even current owners may not know.
Leave some extra time at the end of an open house to chat to neighbours and ask them some questions. Just make sure to ask more than one! It could boost your opinion of an area greatly or remove an entire neighbourhood from your search completely. If you are looking for the perfect family friendly home and neighbourhood, make sure you check out last week's blog post and give me a call any time! I would be happy to help you and your family find your home.