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Avoiding a Nightmare Neighbor When Buying a Home

He complains if your garbage cans are still out five minutes after trash pickup. If there’s a car parked—legally, mind you—outside his house. If a dog even sniffs his lawn. He’s the Nightmare Neighbor, and he must be avoided at all costs.

“Neighbors matter: more than three-quarters of Americans say neighbors factor into their decision when choosing a new home,” said mortgage company Ally. Their new survey asked more than 2,000 Americans about their favorite, and least favorite, qualities in a neighbor. “More than half of Americans report having had what they’d classify as a ‘nightmare neighbor’ in the past,” and 67% of the respondents said that “prior unhappy neighbor experiences make them realize the importance of good neighbors.”

So, if you’re looking for a new home, how do you know who your neighbors really are? You do these three things:


You may not get a straight answer by asking the seller about your neighbors, unless one of them has done something that needs to be legally disclosed. Otherwise, sellers don’t have much reason to tell you if they dislike the guy that lives next-door or across the street. After all, they want to make the sale. And, just because they’ve had issues with a neighbor doesn’t mean you will.

But, your real estate agent has a duty to you and he or she might be able to get some information from the seller’s agent. It may also behoove you to ask other neighbors. See someone outside? Introduce yourself!


Making multiple visits at different times of the day and on different days is always a good idea when you’re buying a house. Your one brief visit won’t give you sufficient information about what it’s like to live in the neighborhood.

Your best bet: Get out of the car and walk around. “Ideally, you should try taking a few different routes on your walks around the neighborhood and go at different times of day,” said The Zebra. “It takes time, but the amount of valuable information you’ll get from it is well worth it before making a decision this big.”


Your first move—before you move—should be to check for sexual offenders in the area on a site like Family Watchdog. You can also do a reverse address search to check specific houses in the neighborhood on a site like Spokeo. You’d be surprised how much you can learn with just a few clicks. An address leads to a name that leads to police activity or court records.

If you can find a way to get on the Nextdoor community site in the neighborhoods in which you’re looking, you’ll find a goldmine of information about the people who live there. Some neighborhoods also have Facebook pages that might provide you with valuable insight.

Written by Jaymi Naciri for Copyright © 2021 Realty Times All Rights Reserved.


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