Tips for the First Time Home Buyer: 5 Questions to Ask the Neighbors

If you are a first time home buyer, you are probably excited about the prospect of choosing your new home and moving into the neighborhood. Your potential neighbors can be a great resource when you need information about the community you are planning to move to, and often can provide you insight to the costs you might face as a homeowner. There are 5 questions you should ask the neighbors before buying your first home.

1. Schools

If you have school-age children, parents with children are your best source for information about the schools in the area. You can ask about teacher-student ratios, violence in the schools, property tax burdens - anything you need to know to put your mind at ease. Don't forget to ask about school schedules. It would be nice to know ahead of time if a neighborhood is zoned for a year-round schooling.

2. Utilities

Your potential neighbors are a great resource for information about water and trash services. Also, it is good to know about the TV, Internet, Satellite services available in the area. Sometimes, you may be able to ask your neighbors about their heating bill in the winter or about the cost of other utilities. Also, ask them about the trash service and responsiveness of the fire and ambulance services for the area.

3. Health/Medical

Potential neighbors can be a wealth of information regarding local medical care. You can ask your potential neighbors about the quality of care, the cost and even find out how close the local hospital is.

4. Home Secrets

There is often no one better than a neighbor to let you know if there about problems with the house you want to buy. The neighbors will often be more than willing to let you know if the basement floods in the winter or if there are boundary disputes. You can often find out little things that the seller hasn't disclosed. Ask your potential neighbors if they know anything about the house that you should know. Ask them if they know of any repairs that have been done, or if there has been any kind of weather-related or fire-related damage that they know of.

5. Neighborhood Secrets

You should ask your potential neighbors about the personality of the neighborhood. Find out if everyone gets along. Ask about the Neighborhood Watch programs and crime in the area. Find out how long the neighbors have been living in the area and why they like it. Don't be afraid to ask what they don't like about it, too.

Before you sign that offer as a first time home buyer, make sure you know exactly what you are buying and who you will be living near. Often, the house itself can be fine but you can have many regrets if you live in a neighborhood that does not suit your personality or style.