- Check the lawns. I know it is shallow and not exactly fitting with the new "green" sensibilities of many folks but this is really a no-brainer. You are not looking for neighbours with golf-course perfect lawns, but for simple signs that they are well cared for. Have they been edged (should be done twice a year in spring and fall) recently? Flowers and bushes trimmed and maintained and relatively free of weeds? If there are mature trees check on their overall health. Have dead branches been removed?
- Seasonal Decor. If it is Fall are there displays of pumpkins, hay bales, corn stalks, etc? Hanging baskets of flowers in the summer? During the holiday season look for simple and not overdone light displays.
- Children. How old are your kids and how will they relate/play with their new neighbours? If you have a 10 year old and a 14 year old then you will likely get along better with neighbours with children in the same general age range. Having older kids surrounded by children still in grade school could be a recipe for conflict. Kids will be kids, so don't get turned off by some clutter. In fact, bikes scattered on a driveway and chalk drawings of hopscotch on the sidewalk are things you WANT to see (if you have kids of course).
- General State of Repair. Sure you will look at the condition of the roof, gutters, siding, bricks, etc. of the home you are thinking of buying but you should also review the state of repair on all neighbouring properties. A street of well maintained homes indicates not only pride of ownership but shared interests and also likely will result in rising property values (great for your investment).
- Traffic patterns. Its all about location location location. Observe the street during different times of the day, especially during the morning rush hour and mid-afternoon (the hour after school is out for the day).
- Driveways. Avoid shared driveways at all costs. They are far more common in urban areas with semi-detatched homes then in the suburbs. I've been told by more then a few Real Estate agents that shared driveways are the #1 cause of friction between neighbours. This one relates to #7... just what is parked on the driveway?
- Vehicles. Check for "eye sore" vehicles. Broken down or pseudo-abandoned cars on blocks are obvious but you should also be on the lookout for large cube vans or other business vehicles that neighbours may regularly park out front. Also large RV and campers. Staring at the side of a giant cube van that is blocking your view can get pretty irritating over the long term.
- Local Businesses. Get to know them. The idea of living in a centrally located ethnic downtown neighbourhood sounds great until you realize the quaint little Italian coffee shop on the corner morphs into a full-fledged bar on Friday nights where every Gino and Gina for 20 blocks in each direction converges to drink, talk really loud, and watch UEFA soccer.
- Garbage Day. Garbage should only be on the curb the night before pickup. It should also be neat and tidy. Yes it is garbage, but that is not excuse to not use a solid and sturdy container to prevent animals from dumping and creating a huge mess. On a side note. Just what is it with old mattresses? How come you never see a mattress on the curb that is just "old" and slightly worn out. People buy new mattresses every day, but the ones you see thrown out always look like they have spent the last 10 years in a Mexican bordello. Was someone really sleeping on that horrible thing the night before? Is that stain blood or sperm or both?
- Pets. I love dogs. I have one myself. However, you should be wary of neighbours with outdoor dogs. An outdoor dog usually means nightly barking. If a neighbour does have an outdoor dog at least look for one that looks healthy and loved and with a shelter that appears to be well maintained and clean. If there are outdoor cats in the neighbourhood be prepared to find suprises buried in your garden on occassion.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Buying A House? 10 Things To Check BEFORE You Purchase
There are lots of things to consider before purchasing your first home. Smart buyers will be looking at electrical, plumbing, roof, furnace, etc. You can hire a professional home inspector but you can't hire a neighbour inspector. There are however a few easy things you can do to reduce the chance of ending up with bad neighbours.
Posted by Ca1v1n at 9:05 PM