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Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood or Nightmare on Elm Street: 4 Questions to Ask Neighbors before Moving to their Neighborhood

Ryan Platzke

You’ve done it. After all that searching, you’ve found a home and a property that fulfills all your requirements and doesn’t break the bank. It even has a fenced in yard so you can finally adopt that dog you’ve been talking about! But when buying a house, you’re not just entering a new home: you’re also joining a neighborhood. Your real estate agent will do everything in their power to provide an accurate overview of a street, but there’s no better intel than what you can gather from people who are already living there. As you do your research, keep in mind these four questions to ask your perspective neighbors before buying a house in their neck of the woods:

1.) How safe do you feel living here?

There are, of course, crime statistics and reports readily available both online and by placing a call to your local police department. However, these often fail to gauge the general feelings of safety a neighborhood may or may not have—asking neighbors is a good litmus test to see how living on this street is in reality. Ask if they feel secure walking outside at night or how often they’ve seen suspicious activity—whether this is evidence of actual violence or simply an excess of loiterers. When driving, look and see if there are people walking alone or children playing unsupervised.

Furthermore, find out if there is a Neighborhood Watch Association in place. Even if a neighborhood falls in a more dangerous part of town, a swift community response can make a world of difference.

2.) What do you know about the property I’m thinking of buying?

No one has their finger on the pulse of things quite as much as a nosy neighbor. They can provide valuable insight into previous owners and how well (or not!) they took care of the property. Neighbors may have knowledge about yard problems—if that tree has pests, if the backyard is prone to flooding—and be able to speak more candidly about them than any other source. For the more superstitious crowd, they may even be able to inform you about any possible hauntings!

3.) How would you describe living here?

This is a slightly more nuanced way to ask if a neighbor likes living on their street or not, avoiding a blunt answer. This open ended question gives your possible new neighbor an opportunity to expound on what they love, or what they hate, about living in the area.Real estate agents will do their best to give you a full view of a neighborhood—demographics, school quality, etc—but no one quite can capture the vibe of a region like someone living day in and day out right in the thick of things.

4.) How does the neighborhood socialize with one another?

This is another element that can only be discovered by living in a place.If you’re introverted and prefer to stick to yourself, you don’t want to end up on a street where weekend block parties are all but required. If you have young kids and want them to have play dates close to home, then you don’t want to end up on a cul-de-sac filled with only adults who rarely venture out.Your neighbors can help you unlock the spirit of a neighborhood.

At HelgesonPatzke Real Estate Group, we are proud to be a member of Eden Prairie’s esteemed small business community. Since 1995, we’ve offered the very best in Twin Cities real estate, earning our community’s trust as the #1 Sales Team in the Eden Prairie area. With over 4,500 homes sold, our staff has both the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure that your home ownership goals are delivered.So, if you’re considering buying or selling your Eden Prairie area home this summer, now is the time to enlist the help of a real estate professional who can help you make the most of this season’s extraordinary market.

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