It’s very telling when you speak to the owners of a house, when you ask about the neighbours. If they don’t refer to them by name, or go very quiet you can guess they don’t get on very well.
It’s always easy to spot the lies too! When someone says their neighbours are lovely and quiet but you can actually hear the music playing through the wall, rattling the ornaments in the house you’re viewing, and then you can only assume that the owner is deaf, or desperate to move.
Some people avoid reporting neighbours to the council and the police when there are problems. This is because it would mean they have to declare a neighbour dispute when selling.
So how can you check out the neighbours?
You could go and knock on their door after you’ve finished viewing the house. That is something not everyone would feel comfortable doing. There are easy ways of finding out about the neighbours though. If it’s a hot day there’ll be people outside, smile and say hello and see if you can entice them gently into a conversation. Ask them where the nearest paper shop is, or if they have kids ask them where the nearest primary school is. Always take note that when stood on the road where the said amenity is actually placed and asking about it just makes you look silly!
Sometimes parking away from the property, maybe on the next street, is a good way of slowly walking past the neighbours gardens and having a nosey. If there’s an untidy garden nearby then it’s one you’ll be seeing often! It’s ok to buy the worst house on the street, but don’t buy the house next to the worst house on the street.
If you’ve got kids then take them for a second viewing. Try and get a sunny day not during school when it’s likely the kids are out and about. Kids often find it easier to talk to other kids, and it’d be nice to have the children’s input on what the neighbours are like. If you’re not moving from too far it’s possible they go to the same school as your kids do, which is always useful to know and can be very insightful!
If there’s a rusty car in the middle of the garden next door then it might not make them perfect neighbours! Does it make the house you’re viewing more affordable? Could you live next door to the Clampetts?
They’ll be your neighbours and it’s up to you to make the decision about how much finding out you do before you buy a house! Some people are happy to just take things as they come and make friends with the neighbours. If you’re sensitive about noise it makes sense to avoid noisy neighbours!