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Can you spot a home with bad neighbors before you buy?

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2023 | Real Estate |

No one wants to move into a new home and then find out their neighbors are nothing but trouble. Unless the seller has filed police reports, been engaged in litigation or gone to the homeowners’ association (HOA) regarding the troublesome neighbors, they can likely get away with not disclosing problems.

In some cases, neighbors can bring down your property value and that of others in the neighborhood, condominium or townhouse complex. That can be the case if, for example, they don’t keep their home or lawn in good shape. 

Sometimes, their lack of consideration for others can make life miserable. They may play loud music at all hours, block your driveway with their cars or let their dogs run loose through other yards.

Take a good look around – more than once

If you’re seriously interested in buying a property, it’s a good idea to ask to see it (or at least drive by it) at various times of the day and evening and on weekends as well as weekdays. If you’ve only seen it when everyone is at work, you may be in for a shock at what happens on the weekends.

There are ways to spot a neighborhood that may be a bad place to invest your money. For example, do the nearby properties look like they’re well maintained? You don’t want to see random furniture. old appliances or vehicles on the lawns. 

Is there a big police presence? Seeing a security company’s cars can be reassuring, but a number of police cruisers could indicate that the area has a lot of criminal activity.

Do some research

How many homes appear to be vacant or are for sale? That could be a red flag. Besides looking around, you can do some research online to see how many homes are in foreclosure and what the turnover rate is. You can also do some research to find crime statistics and registered sex offenders. The same is true for potential zoning changes and plans for any kind of development of property or roads. 

If you have a good real estate agent, they should steer you to homes that are more likely to increase than decrease in value. If they don’t know the area well, they should be able to least give you some good resources for getting the information.

Having sound legal guidance can also help. That’s true when you’re buying a home as well as if you believe the appropriate disclosures weren’t made or you’re considering (or dealing with) potential litigation.