Who are the people in your neighborhood?

Hand holding picture of house against landscape

When first-time buyers start looking for their new home, they tend to focus on appearances. What does the house look like? What are the amenities? What's the potential for improvement?

I know my family took great interest in the roofed back porch and the big yard that came with the house in which we now live.

One of the other things we considered was the neighborhood.

Was it safe for our daughter? This was the first place she could ride a bicycle, so having a driveway on a dead-end street was important.

Who were our neighbors? We were aware of the high school just three blocks away and have already experienced the noise associated with Friday night football. (It’s quite nice actually!)

What we didn't expect was how outgoing and friendly our neighbors are. Well, some of them, anyway.

Out of seven immediate neighbors, three brought us baked goods the day after we moved in. We already knew the fourth neighbor casually, but the remaining three have completely ignored us, not even a nod in our direction after nearly a year of living here.

Perhaps we should have done some homework before buying our home to find out exactly who lives here.

While you may love the new home, you likely will hate being stuck in it all the time to avoid annoying, disruptive or nosy neighbors. You’ll want to avoid the expense of a privacy fence you hadn’t planned on or the frustration of unkempt properties next door.

It may not bother you much at first, but committing to the home means committing to the people who live around you day after day.

Consider taking a stroll around the neighborhood when you check out new houses. If a few of the neighbors are out and about, stop, introduce yourself and see what you can find out.

Your gut will likely tell you something about the area that all the statistics and real estate agents in the world cannot provide.

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