TikTok's Top Tip For Homebuyers Working With A Real Estate Agent

Finding a house that meets your requirements, falls within your budget, and is in a good neighborhood might seem akin to winning the jackpot. So when you do, you understandably want to snag the property before someone else puts in a better offer, and your dream home slips through your fingers. But before you jump on an offer, TikTok suggests you talk to the neighbors to find the proverbial skeletons in the closet. While your real estate agent will disclose all pertinent information related to the house and neighborhood, it's possible the seller wasn't entirely honest with them and didn't tell them everything.

For instance, the home might come with a leaky roof or a poorly insulated attic, but you'd only know about these issues after you move in and inherit them. However, if you talk to the neighbors before buying the home, you might discover these issues early on and save yourself a headache and financial burden down the road. Though it might seem awkward to simply walk up to the neighbor and go Nancy Drew on them, as long as you're courteous when asking questions, it shouldn't be a problem. You can even ply them with baked goods (who can say no to doughnuts and brownies!) for a good first impression.

Reasons you should talk to neighbors before buying a home

As mentioned, the primary benefit of talking to neighbors when buying a home is to discover more about the property and issues the seller might not have told your real estate agent. But that's not the only advantage. Following this expert tip for homebuyers will also help you find the real reason the current residents are selling the home. In most cases, the reasons are fairly innocuous, like kids going off to college, older residents moving near retirement homes, or work transfer. However, they might also be selling the house to escape issues with the neighborhood.

Speaking with neighbors will help you discover more about the area and its many quirks. To illustrate, it will give you insights into how strict or friendly the HOA (homeowners association) is and if its fees are affordable to ensure no extra expenses sneak up on you when buying a home. Try and find out if the HOA is approachable, if it provides services for the money you invest, and if it has any community rules (like the color you paint your exterior or the cars that you park in your driveway). Speaking with neighbors will also give you a sense of the relationship they have with the sellers. You don't want to unknowingly borrow someone else's problems or settle down next to a vengeful neighbor.

Questions to ask them

First of all, ask your potential neighbors if they like living in the neighborhood. This will open the doors for follow-up questions and make it easier for them to spill the beans about the area's demographics, crime rate, and accessibility. Next, ask them if they'd like to change anything about the locale. This is an organic follow-up question and will give you insights into the cons of the area, like barking dogs, uneven roads, lousy trash pick-up services, and traffic.

Enquire about the local schools even if you don't have kids or your children are already in college. The presence of a good local school will make it easier for you to resell your home in the future and increase your property's value. Other questions to ask are if the neighborhood is social and welcoming, whether kids can run around unsupervised, and if there have been any recent break-ins. 

While most neighbors will be honest with you since they've no skin in the game, take all they tell you with a grain of salt, especially if you disclose the property you're interested in and speak with a few people to procure all the pieces of the puzzle. To get the best results, be friendly and keep your questions open-ended. Steer the conversation in the direction you want it to take, but don't be heavy-handed or you risk leaving a bad impression.