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After months of looking, you’ve finally found the house of your dreams.
It’s just the right size, you love the style, and it’s in your price range. Your commute to work is shortened, the schools are excellent, and your family and friends are nearby. You can’t believe your good fortune! And then you meet the neighbors from hell. So now the people on the other side of your dream home’s fence have put you on the fence about purchasing it. Even a fantastic house is going to seem blighted if it’s plopped right next door to a lousy neighbor. You may love the place, but overgrown yards and too many raucous gatherings are bound to take their toll on you and your family. And when it comes time to sell, it could be a long, complicated affair. When you’re considering a new home, it pays to conduct your neighborhood due diligence. Here are some prime red flags to watch for:
Obvious property neglect.
Look at the homes surrounding your potential buy, as well as those down the street and in the vicinity. Uncut grass, trash and clutter in the yard, and overgrown flowerbeds are all signs of neglect. Are the houses themselves well-maintained or are they shoddy in need of a coat of paint or other repairs? If they look like they’re desperate for some loving care, it could be a red flag. While homes may be older or modest in size, their yards and exteriors should still indicate pride of ownership.
Who wants to hear frat parties at all hours of the night? Lack of consideration for other people in the neighborhood is another indicator of a bad neighbor. If you’re buying in a college town, or in a neighborhood that’s largely comprised of rental properties, you might be subjected to more than your fair share of loud music and late night parties. Inspect the neighborhood during the day, and make a trip back to check it out night, as well. What appears to be a peaceful, tranquil location may have completely different characteristics once the sun goes down.
Bad pet owners.
Lousy neighbors are often lousy pet owners, too. Are their animals tied up outside, or in a small fenced area? Do they look like they’re well taken care of or do they appear to be neglected? Do they bark all day and night? Pay close attention to how the pets in the neighborhood are treated.
These folks may just prefer to keep to themselves, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They keep their lawn pristine and the house looks immaculate, but they never wave or say hello. And if you so much as set foot on their perfect piece of property, you’ll get an earful. They may not be the worst of bad neighbors, but they can still make your life miserable. Sometimes these peculiar neighbors can be more than just cranky; they can be downright scary. If you get an uneasy feeling about your potential new neighbor, ask others who live nearby about him or her. If you’re really concerned, check out the national registries.
These folks run the opposite extreme of the loners we just described. The boundary crossers are happy to borrow a cup of sugar from you at any time of the day or night. Uninvited visits, constant calls, and endless borrowing (without asking) are the hallmarks of these brash neighbors. It can be hard to discern a boundary crosser at the outset, but he or she may come on strong even during your first meeting. Look for signs of overt pushiness, nosy questions about your personal life, and other intrusive behaviors.
Follow these five tips to avoid moving next to a bad neighbor:
- Spend plenty of time in the neighborhood before purchasing a home there.
- Check out Nextdoor.com’s online network for the area. This site provides valuable information about events, crime and other helpful intel about what’s happening in the neighborhood.
- Take every opportunity to meet and engage others who live in the neighborhood.
- Hire an experienced real estate agent who knows the neighborhood well and can give you information about the types of people who live there.
- Keep an eye out for other “For Sale” signs. If many people on the street seem to be moving away, you may want to find out why before purchasing a home there.
Buying a house is an expensive, long-term commitment. Not only will bad neighbors lower your home’s value and make it harder to sell, they can also make your home life miserable. Want to learn more about how to avoid the bad neighbor trap? We’re here to help. Please reach out to our knowledgeable team.
About Certified Title Corporation: Since 1994, attorney-owned Certified Title Corporation has been furnishing residential and commercial real estate stakeholders across the nation with robust title insurance, settlement, and escrow services. Renowned for their industry-leading reliability and exemplary level of service and quality, the Maryland-based company helps clients from all walks of life achieve their asset goals. To learn more, call (888)486-5511 or visit https://www.certifiedtitlecorp.com/.
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