Moving house? Get to know your new neighbours
Last updated: 28/07/2022
However thorough you are about researching and checking a property before you buy it, some things are trickier to find out about. Like your new neighbours.
Neighbours tend to be kind or friendly, don’t they? Or they may simply leave you to it, offering the occasional ‘hi’ and perhaps a comment about the weather.
But occasionally, if you’re really unlucky, you could find yourself living in close proximity to a particularly loud and antisocial household.
Here are some tips to help you avoid that happening.
Yes, there is actually some paperwork that can give you some clues about your potential new neighbours.
When you are going through the legal stage of buying a property, look for the Property Information Form, AKA TA6 form, specifically the section which asks for information about any existing disputes or complaints. It should include the cause of the dispute, and any action taken to resolve it. In particular, the seller is duty bound to use the form to declare any complaint they have made to the council or other authority about the behaviour of the neighbours.
Bear in mind that what constitutes a dispute is left open to interpretation, and you can’t guarantee a seller will fill in the form as they should. So, do some other homework too.
The police have a very easy-to-use website where you can check what crimes have been committed by postcode. This will give you an interesting behind-the-scenes look at your new neighbourhood.
However, you probably won’t be able to pin down where exactly the crimes have been committed. For example, it may show you there has frequently been anti-social behaviour on your road, but it won’t tell you which property was causing the disturbance.
You may be alarmed by how many crimes have been committed in a certain area. But before you write off a location as a major crime hotspot, try comparing it with a few other postcodes to how it compares. Also, bear in mind that some postcode areas are larger than others.
Everything might seem perfect on a sunny Saturday afternoon. But what’s the neighbourhood – and the people who live there – like on a Friday evening or Monday morning?
It could be your neighbours are holding constant noisy parties, or they have may have kids who use the road as a playground, or teenagers who hang out on the street corner. Probably not, but it’s worth checking.
It can be really helpful to drop by a property as many times as possible, and at different times of day. You could find out something useful about your neighbours’ behaviour, and it can also help with things like seeing how busy roads are at different times of day.
It’s really important before you buy a home that you’re clear on the boundaries and where you can park your car - particularly if there is a shared driveway.
After all, boundaries can be the cause of heated debates between neighbours, sometimes over just a few inches of ground.
Join the local Facebook groups to see what information you can glean. And try using the Nextdoor app, and see what people are posting about.
You probably won’t find anything amiss, but that could be a good sign.
Ultimately, the best way to find out what your potential new neighbours are like is to go and talk to them. You may not feel very comfortable doing this, but if you have any doubts, then it’s well worth doing.
Just be friendly, introduce yourself and ask them some questions about what it’s like living there and whether there’s anything you should be aware of. You’ll hopefully gather some useful information and also get to know them just a tiny bit too.
Don’t limit this to your immediate neighbours – try chatting to a few people who live close by. If you’re a bit uncomfortable talking to the local residents, you could strike up a conversation with a nearby shopkeeper or publican to get the lowdown on the locals.
If nothing else, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to introduce yourself and to start to make connections in your new neighbourhood.
Click on the sections below to explore what you need to know at each stage of your home buying journey: