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Before You Buy Your Next House, Talk to the Neighbors

November 7, 2013

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Buying a new home is a huge decision. There is so much to think about and consider. You can stress yourself out lying awake at night wondering, “Is this the right house?” “Did we pick the right neighborhood?” “Will we be happy here?” To eliminate buyers’ doubt and remorse, and sleep better, you need to be an informed buyer. The more you know, the easier the decision. Do your research. Ask the right questions. Ask the right people.

Your real estate agent is a great source of information about the house and neighborhood but here’s a tip – talk to the neighbors. Why? Their insight into the house and the neighborhood are invaluable. They can share information with you that you just won’t get from anyone else. They know what it is like to live here.

Salesman giving home keys to property owners

So, how do you talk to the neighbors? You can certainly walk around the neighborhood after you have toured a house but we recommend coming back later.  Once you have decided on one or two homes to consider, write your questions down, and then drive back to the neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon and walk around. Saturdays are usually when people are out mowing their lawns, walking their dogs, or out playing with the kids so it’s easy to strike up a conversation.

Here are some suggestions of questions for the neighbors.

Questions to Ask About the House
–       Did the previous owner take good care of the house?
–       Was there ever any flooding?
–       Were they meticulous about lawn care?
–       Does the current owner have pets?
–       Have the owners made any major improvements to the house recently?
–       If you are looking at the house in fall or winter, what does the yard look
        like in the spring or summer? Lots of flowers?

Questions to Ask About the Neighborhood
–       What do they think about the school system?
–       If you have kids, how many kids live on the block? What are their ages?
–       Are there any kids in the neighborhood who babysit?
–       Is the neighborhood friendly? Do they have block parties or other social events?
–       Do the neighbors help each other out?
–       Can you walk or ride your bikes easily to places in town? Is there easy access
         to bike trails?
–       Is this a pet-friendly neighborhood where people are always out walking their
        dogs and socializing?
–       Do they know of any changes proposed for the neighborhood – new roads, new
        parks, rezoning, etc.
–       How good is the postal service, library, garbage and leaf collection service?

Talking to the neighbors not only answers your questions about the house and area, but also gives you a gauge for the friendliness of your neighborhood. You may be living next to these people some day.

When you purchased your last house, did you talk to the neighbors? What questions did we miss?

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About century21affiliatedchicago

Century 21 Affiliated-Chicago (“C21AC”) is a full service real estate brokerage firm located in Chicago with a focus on residential and commercial properties. Our agent base and management team includes a wide range of specialties serving customer needs across the ever changing real estate landscape, with expertise in many niches, including REO transactions, investment sales, bulk purchasers and sellers, commercial product and traditional residential transactions. C21AC is part of Century 21 Affiliated (“Affiliated”), a top 5 franchisee in the Century 21 system with over 30 locations across the Midwest and over 32 years of history. C21AC entered the Chicago market in February 2011 to re-launch the Century 21 brand in the downtown area and to bring a proven operating platform to the large and fragmented Chicago real estate market. At Century 21 Affiliated, the customer comes first. Our complete commitment to delivering top-notch customer service to our clients is what distinguishes us from our competitors and makes us such a powerful force in the real estate industry. Specialties Residential Sales, Commercial Sales, Short Sales, Bulk Sales, REO's, Leasing, Business Services

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