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  • Questions to ask when househunting

    I've always been interested in what questions you can ask potential neighbors when you are looking for a new place to live without tipping them off that you might be susceptible to noisy neighbors. Since you'd have no idea of the neighborhood, there is that potential of talking to a neighborhood NFH (yikes!). It's always that kind of dilemma when looking for a new place.



    What questions have you asked potential neighbors that have helped you decide? What questions do you wish later you would have asked?



    Visual clues only go so far to tell a story of a neighborhood. I know if I was asked questions I would even be reluctant to give any answers of my feelings on noise.



    It's true things can change after you move somewhere, but it's great to at least start off with someplace civil.



    Chris

  • #2
    B)



    Hello, I recently moved and you would not believe the fuss we made when looking. we told the agent we did not want anywhere that had kids playing outside. thankfully our agent was extremely professional and because she knew her market very well, she was able to steer us away from unsuitable roads, i.e. Cul de sacs, ex local authority estates.



    prior to making an offer we asked our vendors if they knew their neighbours at all. our vendor could name all her neighbours for several doors on either side. we directly asked her if she had ever had any problems with any of them in terms of noise. we also asked her if any kids played out at all in the back access road, she said no. she was quite surprised that we asked this, but we had to know. we ddnt give any indication WHY we were asking this. for all she knew we might have liked the idea of kids being able to play in the back access road. we did not let on we had a problem with this. we had seen a house beforehand where the lady was really proud to tell us her son and his mates used the back access road to play on their mopeds!!! we ran a mile!!!!



    you do need to ask direct questions. we asked one vendor what her neighbours were like, she said they were all elderly, nice quiet people. that might sound excellent, but firstly as we have found out, some OAP become the most vicious of NFH and secondly once all they start moving out/dying off, who is going to move in? young families, with kids, who might play out...



    i did make a little list of questions to ask when i went to view houses as i was so desperate to get things right, this helped us to focus on the practicalities as well as the emotional issues of moving house. so my advice to you is just be direct. you dont have to explain WHY you are asking the questions. make a note of their answers, if you are looking at quite a few houses it is easy to get muddled with who said what.
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    • #3
      Hi Chris,



      I agree with Annabel, you have to be completely direct when asking this type of question, and a list is an excellent plan! The average house price in the UK is now £130k and to make a financial commitment like that, you have every right to know exactly what you are letting yourself in for. If you ask the right questions, it will become obviously apparent whether there have been problems in the past.



      Answering questions about problem neighbours is a whole different game. When we sold our house, the buyers didn't even ask about the neighbours, and my philosophy on it was, "if you don’t ask, you don't get". We'd never had any formal complaints with our neighbours so nothing needed to go on the SPIF. However, if they had asked, I would have been completely open about the problems that we had had.



      Blue Cow

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      • #4
        hi and welcome



        I would ask ...



        *quiet road

        *no factorires

        *no night clubs or pubs

        *detached

        *is it siutable for animals





        then I would watch the hoiuse at different times of days, morning noon evening and night ...during the week and at weekends



        *is the road busy at any point

        *do kids come past on the school route

        *how fast is the road

        *what do the Neighbours look like..are they coming back from the pub late?

        do they shout at each other? do they sit and rev their car up outside?



        *do children use the road as a play area





        some stuff you can ask, other stuff you have to look for, its always agood idea to check out a potential home at different times of the day



        good luck with it any way! :clover: :flowers:

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        • #5
          Thanks to everyone for the warm welcomes to this forum. It's great there is a place like this to discuss what we have gone through and add our experiences that may help others.



          Annabel, thanks for your reply and I have taken a lot of time too when searching for a new place. Because of my concerns of noise I have only rented housing. It's just too risky for me to think of ever owning. Not all noises bother me. I used to be able to live on very busy streets, but then the boomcars began to become popular and that ended those areas as places to live. If people just didn't need blasting bassing entertainments that easily penetrate everywhere, I'd be able to cope much better. It's a major problem here in the States...even 10yrs. ago it didn't seem that much of a factor. It has changed so quickly !



          There are so many things that can be unwanted surprises afterwards, like the noisy mopeds going back and forth for hours. I had that problem at the last place I lived. How do you catch that in a question though? Can you really express a direct question like that to a potential neighbor? Usually you have a very limited amount of time to ask them much or what easily happens is the conversation somehow quickly steers away from the topic. Some potential neighbors are not that talkative, others (usually the quieter ones?) may never be around when you are searching for a place to rent. It's frustrating at times when you have question marks of a neighborhood. Also, in a tighter housing market the place may be rented before you have a chance to thoroughly decide. It really is a lot of pressure for anyone that is a bit more picky about noise.



          Hi Blue Cow..yes, isn't it surprising when people don't even ask about the neighborhood and only are concerned with the home itself. In a way that kind of unconcernedness makes me a bit jealous when I think how much time I invest in that part of the search.



          Thanks for the comments of yours too Beth. Pubs and nightclubs I try to make sure NONE of those are near or even potential changes to that kind of entertainment. I also am one of those that looks at the potential home at different hours. Amazing how it can be very quiet at a certain hour and hell at a different time of day. There are some tipoffs here in the States if children play a lot in the street. Portable standing basketball hoops have become popular here. They set them right next to the road to play or even in the road blocking traffic.



          Chris

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hazelnut@Dec 6 2003, 12:46 AM

            At the risk of being labelled as unpleasantly racist, I'm going to add my twopennorth.



            My sister, who lives in SC, recently had to move from where they had been happy for many years because of the high number of African extraction people moving into the area, who just wanted to cause trouble. My sister is white, as is her husband and children, they began to feel very threatened and unsafe at home. Her husband is USAF, retired from service and was in Public Safety dept ... fire and police I think it is. They bought a gun, which was kept in the bedroom.



            They didn't move very far, but to an area where there were more people of their colour, and the gun has been sold.
            Hi Hazelnut,



            Well, this is your sister's situation/viewpoint perhaps, not yours, you're passing on the info, so I don't see you as personally being racist here.



            I can see it from their point of view (your sister's) and from the angle where such a reaction could be considered to have racist overtones. I would imagine though it all depends on the reasons and feelings your sister and family had about it.



            Ultimately, if they felt unsafe if they were being made to fear for their safety and well-being as their race/culture was in the minority in their community, then they are actually the people who are at the receiving end of possible racism - colour isn't race, so being white is besides the point I feel, but they may have been the victims of some prejudice, only they will know that. Therefore they had every right to move and live where they like/want to. We all should have the right to live where we want, not all of us have that choice though unfortunately.



            From the other side of the coin though, if they had moved simply to be with members of their own race and had negative reservations around the people moving into their original community for groundless reasons, this could be considered to be racist in some circumstances, but, again only they will know that for sure.



            Personally speaking, I've lived in all sorts of places and areas - some having more of a culturally diverse mix than others. I've felt safer in some of those areas and more uncomfortable in others - but I have to stress personally, none of this was attributable to the race/culture mix in the area. Moreso it was to do with factors such as the wider social problems, crime, housing, etc - all issues that go accross every community/culture.



            I really don't hold the colour or race of my neighbour as 'negatively important', although to have an awareness and understanding of different cultural needs is important if your community has more unique needs - this only serves to re-inforce two way respect and mutual understanding.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm not sure if what was meant here is that there is a link between crime and a particular ethnic group, or a link between abuse/trouble and differing ethnic groups.



              I find the former idea somewhat difficult, and I suppose the latter could apply to many different communities, but is often especially prevalent towards minority ethnic groups.



              As can often be seen on this site, very often nfh behaviour(often abusive and vindictive) and general criminality can be found amongst all-white neighbourhoods. That doesn't then demonstrate that to live in an area where one is in an ethnic majority ensures personal safety and freedom from crime and abuse. The perception may be so, but the reality can often be very different.



              If someone feels their pesonal safety is compromised for whatever reason, I can quite see why they might wish to move; where they feel safe moving to is also their perogative. But I wouldn't like to give the impression that moving to an area where one is in the ethnic majority necessarily solves all problems/potential problems. Nowhere is a Utopia unfortunately.





              Sapph

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