Let’s face it: Bad neighbours can make your life miserable. When you buy a Windsor Ontario home, how do you know that you will be happy with the people living right next door? Or across the street? How can you be assured that your “Home Sweet Home” will stay that way?
The first rule I give my clients in order to avoid living next door to neighbours from hell, is to check out the area BEFORE you make an offer on a home. How do you do this? There are some steps you can take to get as much information about the neighbourhood as possible, and here are my top suggestions:
1. Visit frequently and at various times!
I have given this advice over and over again, but I must say, it’s the best tip I can give for those who are unsure about a certain neighbourhood: visit at various times of the day and evening and don’t forget weekends! It’s not good enough to visit only during the work week when most people are away from their homes. Drive in the evening, when people are more than likely to be there. Are neighbours outside and interacting? Are children playing? Does it feel safe and welcoming? Maybe you see activity you aren’t too sure about, like cars parked on your neighbour’s grass, or sketchy looking people hanging around the street lights.
2. Hire a neighbourhood specialist/professional real estate agent:
If you are moving into a new area, it is critical you hire an agent that knows the town like the back of their hand. When a client is about to part with their hard-earned money and make what could very well be the biggest purchase of their life, you can bet that I’m going to make sure they know everything about the neighbourhood so they can feel comfortable and at ease when they make that offer. The last thing they will want to learn after they buy the home are any unexpected surprises, such as the lot down the street is the future home of a fast food restaurant or the view they thought they had is about to be blocked by new construction. Hire an agent that can lead you to the best neighbourhoods you can afford, with excellent schools, a desirable location and where you can get the most money when it’s time to sell. Remember, it really is about location, location, location.
3. Introduce yourself to prospective neighbours:
If you are considering a home, go over and meet your potential new neighbours. Ask them questions about the neighbourhood, the schools, and to get a general feel for the neighbourhood. Ask if people occasionally get together, or if everyone keeps to themselves. Often a buyer will get more information and a better idea if a house is right for them by spending just a few minutes gathering details from a neighbour.
However, there are times, regardless of good research and doing everything possible to find the right neighbourhood, that sometimes you just get that one difficult neighbour who is intent on making your life miserable. What do you do? How do you manage to have a blissful lifestyle when you are having problems with the person next door?
1. Take a deep breath – don’t storm over in anger. Think about what you want to say and how you want to say it to get the best possible result. Remember, your neighbour may be completely unaware of a problem until you bring it to their attention. Let them hear your issue and give them a chance to respond.
2. Contact HOA – if you have a Homeowner’s Association, contact them and ask for their advice. Usually they have a strict code of rules of which residents must abide. If that’s the case, they can handle and potentially fine the neighbour.
3. Check local laws – despite every best effort, sometimes a neighbour just won’t respond. Therefore, it’s time to check nuisance issues, such as noise, fences, animals, parking, etc. Contact local authorities and find out how you are protected. Sometimes it only takes a visit from a government official or a local police offer for neighbours to finally get the hint.