So you have the neighborhood you want to live in narrowed down but now a big question comes into play, "Will I have good neighbors if I move into this neighborhood"? Before you purchase a new home it is very important that you take the time to be nosy, yes nosy! Make a list of questions to ask the neighbors. Most potential home buyers don't spend enough time being nosy with them and asking enough questions to rule in, or out, a particular property. I suggest that you talk to potential neighbors about the neighborhood, but the ultimate goal is to find out about the people around you. Now you could go right into the conversation with candid questions, or you can be more subtle. Regardless, you need to look at your current lifestyle, and the lifestyle you want to have in this area potentially for years to come. Having good neighbors not only gives you a sense of camaraderie but they affect your quality of life.
1. Ask the neighbors how long they have lived in the area
This is a good question to get the conversation going. Finding out how long they have lived in their house tells how much they enjoy living there. Also, the longer they have lived there the more they can tell you about the people and their families.
2. Ask the neighbors about the history of the house
Neighbors will usually have good stories to tell about the history of the home, such as the structure, any recent repairs or renovations, storms that have come through, and the people past and present living in the home. These conversations usually lead into additional neighborhood stories and more about others living in the area. Learning more about the property could also put you in a better position to negotiate when making an offer.
3. Ask the neighbors about amenities in the area
Ask about amenities in the area and ask if they know if any of the neighbors use these resources. Asking specific questions like is there a dog groomer in the area, or are there dog walkers in the neighborhood, will get conversations going about neighbors with pets. Continue the conversation with any other amenities you know you will have an interest in using. Such as, best restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, and landscapers. The list goes on and on. Ask where everyone goes for fun and to socialize. Don't forget to ask about neighborhood block parties, game nights, pool parties, or other neighborhood specific events. If you plan to live their for some time, think about the friends you could make for life. Again, all these conversations will usually bring up specific comments and stories about the neighbors, and you will get a good general feel of the people and area.
4. Ask the neighbors if the neighborhood is kid-friendly
Even if you do not currently have children, it might be something to consider if you are planning to stay for some time in the same neighborhood and start a family, or for resale if you plan to leave in a few years. A neighborhood affects children too, so you want to offer your child a safe family friendly environment. Make sure you are clear on school district lines and the distance away from each school for your child's commute by bus or ride-sharing. Consider what activities are already available for kids in that neighborhood including parks, walking/bike trails, and swimming pools. Within conversations about kids, you can usually find out which neighbors have children, if some of the neighbors do not have children, if someone is expecting, or if a grouch lives in the area and dislikes children.
Hopefully by talking to the neighbors you have a better feeling of what each neighborhood can offer your family and have found some common interests with each person you meet.