Moving to a New Home? Asking the Neighbors This Question Could Reveal a Big Warning Sign

Searching for a new home or apartment can be both exciting and tiring. Once you find the place you want to call home, it’s tempting to try to rush the process, so you can move and finally relax. However, it pays to take time to ask a few questions before making a move. It can be time-consuming — and expensive — to undo a bad decision when it comes to purchasing a home or renting a new place.

Here are some questions you should ask your neighbors before moving in. The answer to this first question might be the biggest warning sign of all.

Do you feel safe here?

the home of Stephen Paddock with a yellow caution tape across it

Is your future neighborhood a place you’d want to spend time in? | Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Although you can check crime statistics or visit the local police department to get a feel for crime in the neighborhood, that might not give you the whole picture. Ask your potential neighbors what their experiences have been. They might be able to offer insider information, such as which parts of the neighborhood to steer clear of, or whether there are some neighbors who are into questionable activities.

Next: This is one of the most important questions to ask if you scare easily.

Do you have any problems with pests?

Bed Bug Fear

If you’re moving into a new apartment, see if the building has problems with bed bugs. | wildpixel/iStock/Getty Images

This is an important question to ask, especially if you live in an apartment building. Apartment buildings could become a potential breeding ground for hard-to-kill pests such as bed bugs. You’ll want to ask if it has been a recurring problem and how responsive the landlord has been to complaints. Sellers and landlords are required to share bed bug history, but it doesn’t hurt to chat with a neighbor about it as well.

Next: Your sleep quality could depend on the answer to this question. 

How noisy is the neighborhood?

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Can you get a decent night’s sleep in your new neighborhood? | Swarmcatcher/iStock/Getty Images

Also question the noise level. Few people want to live in a place where there’s rarely a moment of peace and quiet. Ask if there are neighbors who tend to make a lot of noise or if police have been contacted due to noise complaints. It’s also a good idea to take a drive or walk through the neighborhood at night and on the weekends to see what the area is really like.

Next: Find this out if you have young children.

What do you think of the schools?

French School children

How are the local schools? | Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

If you have young children, you’ll want to get a feel for how the schools are. This can partly be accomplished by doing some research on your own, but there’s nothing like getting a first-hand account from residents on what the schools are like. Ask about the reputation of the schools in the area and if there are any new schools planned.

Next: Make sure you have some fun.

What is there to do for recreation?

 

Traffic on KIng Street with people walking on sidewalk along in Old Town Alexandria

What is there to do in the area? | iStock.com/aimintang

You likely won’t be sitting at home all day, so ask questions about local activities. Find out if there are any fun things to do in the neighborhood. If you have a family, you’ll want to find out about family-friendly places to visit. Also, ask about the best restaurants and places to shop. Even if you don’t end up moving to the area, you might discover a new restaurant you’d like to try.

Next: If you can’t walk far, ask this. 

How is the parking?

parking ticket

Will you have to worry about constant parking tickets? | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Unless you purchase a house with a garage, parking might be an issue. Ask neighbors what the parking situation is like. If you find it will be hard to find a spot, you might want to take this into consideration. Neighbors might be able to share the best times to get a good spot and warn you about places you don’t want to leave your car. It’s no fun driving around the block for half an hour or being forced to park several blocks away from your residence (especially if you have issues with mobility and need to be parked close to your home).

Next: This could make or break your experience.

How responsive is the maintenance team or super?

Will you be able to get help when something goes wrong? | iStock/Getty Images

If you’re  planning on purchasing or renting an apartment, it’s a good idea to find out how quickly you’ll be able to have problems addressed. If you encounter a leaky pipe or something goes terribly wrong in your apartment, you’ll want to make sure you’ll be able to get help when you need it. The quality of the maintenance staff can make or break your housing experience. Also, ask how helpful the management staff is while you’re at it. Unhelpful management can make for miserable apartment living.

Next: Mind your money.

How often is the rent, maintenance, or housing association fee raised? How much?

rake

Is lawn upkeep included in your monthly fees?  | iStock.com

You also don’t want any surprises when it comes to the cost of your new place. If you opt for apartment living, you want to be prepared for any potential increases. Neighbors can give you a good idea of when and how often you can expect to see an increase in the amount you pay. You can also ask your potential landlord, but you might not get all the details.

Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.

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