Talking to the neighbors is one of the best ways to get a good feel of a potential neighborhood and community. But unfortunately, you can’t ask them unlimited questions about the area to satisfy your curiosity. Instead, here are some insightful questions that will help you get valuable info about the neighborhood beyond its face value:
1. “What is it like living here?”
This is a great opening question when you’re looking at real estate for sale. It is very subjective, which allows people to say what is on top of their mind. Oftentimes, this question will prompt them to say what they like about the neighborhood. Seldom will people say what they hate about it first. If they say more negative things than positive, this may be treated as a red flag, especially if it happens with more than one neighbor.
2. “How safe is this area?”
Crime rates don’t paint the whole picture of the neighborhood’s safety. That said, getting a neighbor’s opinion is the best way to determine how safe the area is.
Ask about the issues in the neighborhood, whether or not they are reported as a crime, such as vandalism, gang activity, or petty theft. Afterwards, ask what is being done to solve these problems. Is there increased police activity in the neighborhood? Are there night watchers looking after the community? Do parents increase supervision on their kids? Asking these questions can help you determine if the safety of the area is good enough for you and your family.
3. “What are the area of improvement in the neighborhood?”
A neighborhood is rarely perfect, and getting insight on the drawbacks of an area is just as important as finding out its good points. Ask the potential neighbor about what they’d like to change about the area, which is a nicer way of asking what they don’t like about it. There are many possible downsides of the neighborhood, such as rush hour traffic jams, limited food options, and noisy youths. These inconveniences may not be deal-breakers, but they can help you know what to expect if you move there.
4. “Is this neighborhood good for families?”
For families with children, there are several more factors that they have to consider when assessing a potential neighborhood. For instance, ask the neighbor about the school district, family-friendly amenities, and the activities kids can join around the area. You may have already done your research, but a firsthand account from an actual person can give you more insight.
5. “What’s the commute and public transportation like?”
Even if you’ve already driven around the neighborhood a hundred times, it’s still a good idea to ask the locals about the traffic and public transportation. What time does rush hour usually start and end? How bad is the traffic? What are the public transportation options in the area? This will help you get a better idea of what your daily commute will be like.
These are just some of the best questions you can ask a potential neighbor, but they should be enough to give you a better insight into the neighborhood. If you are on a house tour, make it a habit to talk to the neighbors as part of your agenda. It will help you become a more responsible home buyer.