When you think about home inspection in the real estate process, you’re probably imagining the property inspection that will take place before the sale closes. That inspection is important, for sure, but it’s not the only one a savvy home buyer needs.
We talked about some self-inspection items that help you make sure you’re putting your offer on a sound property in a previous blog post. There’s one more inspection that you should do on your own before you make your offer.
Inspection by Neighbor
When you invest in real estate, you’re not just buying your home. You’re buying into a whole community. Your neighbors will matter at some point. You don’t necessarily have to be friends with your neighbors, although tightly knit communities have their benefits. But you should have a sense of what the area is like before you make your commitment.
If possible while you’re checking out the house, walk around outside and see if any neighbors are spying on the showings. We all know they are. People are curious, and that’s good! If you catch someone outside, strike up a conversation. Ask how long they’ve lived in the area and see what they’re willing to tell you about the property you’re interested in as well as the overall neighborhood.
If the house has any major issues, the neighbors are likely to have some idea. For example, if the basement is prone to flooding, they will have seen service trucks outside the home. Neighbors might know how well the sellers took care of the property, and they can give you some insight into local utility costs.
If the street has any serious issues, such as illegal activity, loud partiers, or safety concerns, there are usually a few nice people who will give you fair warning on these unfortunate circumstances.
Inspect the Neighborhood
Make sure to drive around the area surrounding the house, or walk around it if possible. Come back at different times of day or evening to see what the activity is like. Keep an eye out for how many other properties are for sale, how many cars seem to be home at various times of day, and whether the other homeowners look like young families or empty-nesters.
Look beyond the neighborhood to visit the local municipality website to see what is on their planning page. If there’s going to be new construction in the area, or there’s unreserved open space, it could cause big changes in water run-off, traffic, and commerce. These things will have an impact over the long term for your potential new home.
Rely on your realtor for some of this intelligence as well. Your agent may have already talked to some neighbors, have a relationship with the selling agent, or know about the local community. Bring up your priorities so that your agent knows what to look for when showing you properties. Remember that your agent is your ally and advocate in the home buying process, so you should be able to depend on them to help you make sure you’re buying the best property for your needs.
At 1SlickHome.com and The Geoff Slick Team at Keller Williams, we represent both buyers and sellers with exceptional, personalized service. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you achieve your real estate goals. We serve the western Philadelphia suburbs, including Souderton Area School District, North Penn School District, Quakertown School District, Pennridge School District, Central Bucks School District, and more!