Important Questions to Ask Your Potential Neighbors

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Get to know your future neighbors before you buy with these three important questions.

Congratulations on finding the perfect lake home!

You’ve talked to your agent, the listing agent and even the sellers to get as much information as possible on the average cost of living in the area, the neighborhood and the homeowner’s association.

By now, you are probably thinking there can’t possibly be any more questions to be answered, but not so fast.

Before buying a home, it is always a good idea to talk to your prospective neighbors. They could be a potential source of invaluable information.

So before you dot the I’s and cross those T’s, consider asking your neighbors-to-be these important questions:

How long have you lived here?

The answer to this question may be simple, but you can learn a lot from how long someone has lived in the neighborhood.

confused business man with question make above his head

If the neighbors have lived in the area for a number of years, they can speak to how the neighborhood has changed and can give insight into the benefits and disadvantages of living in the area, such as a strict HOA.

These neighbors can also give an indication about how long people typically live in the area by pointing out how many new faces they’ve seen come and go in the time they have resided there. You might ask if residents are year-round or seasonal, as well.

In this conversation you could also ask if the neighborhood holds any annual events such as holiday boat parades or a Memorial Day cookout.

How often is crime reported in the area?

Lake houses are frequently bought as second or vacation homes, which means they are not lived in year-round.

Because they are often unoccupied, it is exceptionally important to know how often police and other first-responders are called to the neighborhood.

Prospective neighbors can give you a sense of whether police are called on a regular basis for issues of burglary, theft and vehicle-related crimes.

Frequent police visits are often a red flag for buyers; however, a neighborhood that is NEVER visited may not be the best thing either.

Ask the residents how frequently officers patrol the neighborhood. In neighborhoods where residents are seasonal, regularly scheduled patrols can provide some peace of mind that owners’ properties are being looked after.

What is your favorite and least favorite things about living here?

Whether they have lived there for two years or 20, your potential neighbors will have their fair share to say about what it’s like to live in the area.

By asking this question, you could learn about how everyone in the neighborhood gets along, what the noise levels are like, and if the community is kid friendly or not.

Neighbors could also tell you if the area floods, if the neighborhood is subject to power outages and some of the HOA rules and regulations.

Is there anything I should know about this home?

Finally, be sure to ask your neighbors-to-be if there is anything out of the ordinary you should know about the home you are looking to buy.

Of course, some people want to know if the house is said to be haunted or if anyone has died there.

But more seriously, current neighborhood residents can tell you whether the home was lived in long-term or if it has had many owners.

Additionally, you can learn if the current owners ever had issues with areas of the house flooding, electrical problems, how their lawn was cared for, etc.

Prospective neighbors can be invaluable sources of information. So before you buy, be sure to get to know the neighborhood by getting to know the neighbors.


For more home buying advice, take a look at our “5 Questions Before Choosing a Lake Home” and “Questions to Ask about Your Local HOA Before Buying” articles!

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