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Know your neighbours before you buy

Having great neighbours is one the more pleasant aspects of home ownership, and it’s something that many of us simply take for granted. However, there are few things that can spoil the enjoyment of your home more than realizing that you’re in the wrong neighbourhood, or worse still, living right next door to an intrusive or disruptive individual. What can you do about it? Well, if you wait until after you buy, the short answer is there’s very little that you can do at that stage of the game aside from keeping a low profile and developing a thick skin. The time to check out your neighbourhood – and neighbours – is before you buy.

The first and perhaps best source of information is your Coldwell Banker real estate professional. They can give you an overview of the area, show you where the major amenities are located, and can also tell you about the neighbourhood character, including some of the major events that take place in the community. Just as importantly, your Coldwell Banker representative is a valuable source of information such as zoning changes, new construction and public transportation changes that may have an impact on both your future enjoyment of the property and its resale value. Make sure that your salesperson knows what your long term plans are for the property, so that they can put the right questions to the sellers and their agent. Knowing why a vendor has decided to sell their property is important information that can help you make an informed decision.

Another valuable source of information is the local police station and/or community offices. The police can tell you a great deal about how your prospective neighbourhood stacks up in terms of traffic problems and crime statistics compared to other residential areas. They can pinpoint ‘trouble spots’ in the community that you will want to stay clear of. If you’ve already found a property that you like, you can even ask them about activity surrounding that particular address. Likewise, neighbourhood fire halls, the Principals of local schools or local church leaders can also be great sources of information about the community and your prospective neighbours. If you receive a good report card, you can make an offer with peace of mind that the community is a good ‘fit’ that will suit your family’s needs.

Of course, nothing takes the place of a first hand look. If you don’t already live in the area, try visiting the location at different times of the day, especially during morning or evening commute times. That will give you a feel for traffic conditions as well as establishing the neighbourhood’s character. If you see people out and about, raking leaves, sweeping the steps or working on their car, stop and introduce yourself and say you’re thinking of moving into the area. You might be surprised at how much valuable information you can learn from the people who already live there. By the time you’re ready to move in, you’ll feel like an expert!

Posted on Sunday, January 7, 2007 at 03:02PM by Registered CommenterElaine | CommentsPost a Comment

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