When deciding on whether to buy a specific property, an often overlooked source are neighbors. They can offer great insight about the home, street, and community in general.
I’ll share two examples where neighbors influenced my clients decisions.
One client was looking at inner-city communities where new infills are popping up all over the place. As is the case when the market is hot, a lot of amateur builders have saturated the market so you have to keep an eye out for less-than-stellar construction.
I found a newer home that checked off everything in my clients needs/wants list. It was an attached home so I went next door and fortunately caught the neighbor just as she was leaving.
We had a great discussion about the home and the community. She was the original owner, bought pre-construction, and had visited the site every day to make sure everything was being constructed properly. The neighbor kindly passed on her phone number and I forwarded it on to my client who later followed up with more questions. In the end, my client’s worries were completely allayed and bought the home feeling confident – and not to mention happy knowing that a great neighbor was living next door.
A second example was a client that was looking at a self-managed condominium with about a dozen units that had attractively low condo fees. However, after speaking to several neighbors I was able to uncover information that the condo documents (which were not kept up-to-date) or a property inspection wouldn’t have revealed. The fees were low, yes, but there were regular special assessments. The building ran more along the lines of a “pay-as-you-go” with regards to repairs, upgrades, and general maintenance. With this information in hand, my client who had a strict budget, steered clear of this potential money drainer.
Talk to the neighbors, ask them questions. Other than the owner of the property you’re interested in, they likely know the most and would be more willing to share information with you. After all, you just might end up being their new neighbor.