Not too long ago I was looking at a property in a neighborhood that I wasn’t very familiar with. The numbers on the house seemed decent, but the neighborhood itself looked marginal at first glance.
So, as soon as I finished meeting with the seller and checking out the house, I went around to all of the neighbors to ask their opinion of the neighborhood; I simply knocked on the door, introduced myself, told them I was thinking about buying the house across the street, and I wanted to know if it was a safe neighborhood.
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Why You Should Talk to Potential Neighbors
Well, one thing I’ve learned about neighbors is that they love to gossip. In this instance, one neighbor complained about a bunch of teenage punks who went around shooting BB guns. Another neighbor complained that the person next to them was always noisy and playing loud music at night.
I discovered that many neighbors didn’t like each other, but that there were no serious crime problems in the area. In fact, every time I look to purchase a new house I always knock on all of the neighbors’ doors and ask them about the area and even what they know about the house I’m buying.
Then, if I end up buying the house I go to those same neighbors again and say, “Hi, I’m Jason, we met about a month ago and I ended up purchasing the house across the street from you. I’ve put some tenants in the house and I’m a very strict landlord so if my tenants are ever causing you trouble, please give me a call immediately and I’ll take care of the problem.”
This interaction establishes a good relationship with the neighbors
And, I can think of two instances where it’s really helped me out. One time, I got a call from a neighbor that one of my properties was on fire and he called the fire department. My tenant had left the house with a candle burning and it had tipped over on the mantle. Luckily, there was very little damage thanks to this neighbor.
Another time I got a call from a neighbor that my tenant was smoking marijuana all of the time in my property. This place happened to be a Section 8 property, so I called up the housing advisor and she paid my tenant a visit and I never had the problem again.
As you can clearly see, getting to know your neighbors is well worth it. They’ll be your “spies” to make sure your tenants aren’t trashing the house, burning it down, or hopefully doing any illegal activities. And, they’ll love you as a landlord because if they do have to report a problem, they know you’ll quickly take care of it.