There is a way to help you avoid bad neighbors when buying real estate.
We include it as part of our home buyer presentation when we are in the process of educating our clients and when we are out and about viewing real estate listings in person.
I call it my Knock and Notice policy.
When I was with the LAPD We served a lot of search warrants.
While this step is not me and my home buyers coming in right after knock and notice have been given, it is a bit similar.
We are there to investigate the person or people living in a neighboring home, condo or town-home.
It is at this time I want my clients to be on their best most observable front.
As my LAPD training offers used to say to us boots, "You are now a trained observer, you need to make mental notes of all that goes on, especially when it comes to putting someone in jail. It is a huge responsibility to put a person in jail, make sure you have all you need to make that decision.
While my Santa Clarita - Valencia home buyers are not putting anyone in jail, learning what to watch out for when doing our knock and notice due diligence pays off.
Top 5 Bad Neighbor traits to look for
- Cars and couches in the front yard
- Lawn and Curb appeal neglect and Parking
- Smells - Scents and Drug odors
- Incessant dog barking or loud birds
- Encroaching plants, trees and broken fences
1 - Of course - my kin may have pulled the living room sofa out to the front yard to have a place to sit with friends and throw back a few drinks.
That does not make it an awesome place to move to. I don't see activity much in Santa Clarita Valley, but it can sure be a turn off for those who are concerned about being neighbors or their property values.
If your neighbors are parking their vehicles in their front yard and if their yard resembles a junkyard, you may be concerned. Especially if the zoning and neighborhood do not allow for that.
2 - Lawn Neglect and curb appeal. Sometimes, due to what appears to an ongoing drought, some front lawns are purposefully turning yellow, with the grass dying due to not being watered.
However, even though a lawn in yellow, a homeowner can still take care of their home so it looks more presentable.
If you are buying in a community with restricted parking, make sure you have enough space for you and those living with you in regards to parking. This becomes very important at a Condo, Town-home or Planned Urban Development complex. If there is no place to park when you need it, there may be no point in buying real estate there.
Do you entertain? That may be also another consideration for parking.
3 - Marijuana seems to be much more prevalent than when I was growing up. All though it's more accepted to the smell of tobacco, I think it may over-run it soon.
Of course, any and all chemical smells may indicate the filming of an episode of "Breaking Bad", or a termite tenting, the bottom line is to do those active investigations.
4 - This happens a lot. You are viewing a home with your client and hear the next-door neighbor's dog barking. It's like the dog is using the energizer bunny battery. It just keeps going and going...
Do yourself a favor, make sure that neighbor is door knocked. Then make sure their neighbor is door knocked, ask the direct question, but do it smartly, "I could not help but notice the dog barking, I work nights, does it stop at any point?" - Innocent enough - They may respond, "Yeah, that's my sister's dog, she will be back tomorrow to pick him up. He hates it here."
Or, "Yes, that's Scout, he loves to bark. He does it so much I don't even notice anymore." It's at this point you have a decision to make.
Is there some HOA enforcement mechanism about barking dogs? What about the local Law enforcement, what do they do and would there be any ramifications by me complaining after I move in?
5 - Shared fences? Maybe if you are buying a home that is in a newer community.
You may want to talk to the neighbors. Bottom line, look for anything that is growing over from their yard into yours. This includes large trees that are "umbrella" your home - Consider what falls from them and what impact those events will have on your home.
If the fences are shared between you and the neighbors and are cracked or falling apart, you may want to ask if the neighbors may be willing to support a repair effort with the costs split evenly.
That would be a bit tough to bring up before you are actually the owner. Maybe that is something you could have the current seller ask the neighbor? Of course, do it through your Santa Clarita home expert, as we do for our housing clients.
At least the record is made and if they are totally unresponsive, you will know and might cancel the escrow as a result.
Knock and Notice by the Santa Clarita home experts
It's not you researching Megan's Law - that is a given and needs to be done at the very beginning of escrow.
Make sure you know your rights per the contract you had written for you and the one that was submitted on your behalf to the home seller(s).
If you end up canceling as a result of your Knock and Notice, you want to make sure your deposit is well protected.
Keeping safe and ensuring that you get your deposit back if you find out something that makes you need to cancel escrow is one of the most important real estate steps you can take.
This Knock and Notice needs to happen before your home inspections, your termite inspections, and other inspections. The reason is these other items cost you money. You have to pay the inspectors right away, at the conclusion of their inspections, they mandate payment.
You rapping on the neighbor's doors costs you nothing. But, it's such an important part of the home buying process.
When you are ready, contact me at the Santa Clarita home experts. I will guide you on how the best way would be to avoid bad neighbors.
I'll be here for you. I'm Connor MacIvor with REMAX Gateway - I'm your contact agent with the Santa Clarita home experts.
Be well and please read the rest of my Santa Clarita home experts blog.