October 16th, 2017
When it comes to house hunting, "love at first sight" and "love is blind" can often go hand in hand. So many buyers get caught up in the house itself that they don't see the flaws in the surrounding neighborhood (and beyond) until it's too late. Before they decide to "propose" to the object of their desire, encourage your buyers to take a step back, breathe and do some local tire kicking to ensure that the house's beauty is more than skin deep.
You can provide a considerable amount of local knowledge - but there is no replacement for your buyers' own feelings on their surroundings. Let them know the importance of scoping out the local and larger surroundings, and thinking about what it would be like to live there. Also give them a nudge to do their inspections at different times of the day, since, as you know from experience, the way things look and function can change from morning to noon to night. For instance, if your buyers have children and want them to meet new friends, touring at varying hours during the week and on the weekend will help them gauge if there are other children in the neighborhood.
Other "checklist items" to share with them include:
Schools - Where does the house sit in terms of distance to the closest bus stop or to the school or schools their children will be attending - and, of course, are they well rated?
Shopping, Dining and Entertainment - Sometimes they can't wait for that overnight Internet purchase to arrive, don't want to cook dinner or are dying to see the latest movie. Is the house close to all of these amenities and with a good variety from which to choose?
Streets - Make sure that those quiet streets don't turn into noisy, dangerous morning and afternoon rush-hour shortcuts. Are they well lit and wide? Dark, narrow streets (and sidewalks) can be a hazard for drivers and walkers.
Commuting: Unless your buyer(s) telecommute full time, convenient access to highways, trains and buses should be an important consideration.
You can also provide some excellent advice to your not-so-shy buyers: let them know that their could-be neighbors are an excellent source of local information. If your buyers feel comfortable and happen to be out and about during their neighborhood tour(s) tell them to ask people questions. Who better to know, for example, if you are in a part of the country that gets snow, how good/timely the removal is?
Buyer's remorse isn't fun for either your buyers or for you - so why not do what you can to ensure that before they set their heart on that dream house they set their sights on its surroundings? By checking out the neighborhood from the start, they can avoid regret at the end.