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A Guide to scoping out bad neighbours before you buy

Have you ever been kept up late at night because your neighbours don’t know when to quiet down? Or had a nosy neighbour who won’t leave you alone? If so, I’m here to help you avoid that in the future!

Having bad neighbours can ruin your dreams of finding the perfect home. With almost 20 years in the industry, I’ve seen happy clients turn sour after discovering they got stuck with bad neighbours. To help you identify the quality of your neighbours before you buy your next home, I’ve compiled a list of four things you can do to scope out the area.

Look at The Neighbouring Properties

When you go to see your potential new home, pay attention to the other houses in the area. A common trait among most bad neighbours is that they don’t care about others around them. Usually, they don’t care very much about the outside of their property either. Take note of the exterior of neighbouring properties to get a sense of what kind of neighbours they would be.

Take a look at their lawn to see if the grass is long and overgrown, dry and dead, or if is no grass at all. Trash or furniture all over the yard or piling up along the side of the house is another indicator that this person does not care about their neighbours. Similarly, having multiple old cars filling up the driveway can be another bad sign. You can also look out for a poorly maintained yard, an un-shovelled driveway, and other signs of negligence.

While this may not always mean they are bad neighbours, if you are someone who takes pride in their home, inside and out, this may not be someone you want to live next to.

Find Out Why the Current Owners Are Selling

Ask your realtor to find out the current owners’ reason for selling. If they are moving because the neighbours are really bad, they aren’t going to volunteer this information easily. However, you can rule this possibility out by validating the reason they give. If it seems suspicious, you may want to further investigate other reasons that they may be ready to move, including bad neighbours.

Just Go Meet Them

The absolute best way to figure out what the neighbours are like is the old-fashioned way, meet them! Go knock on their door and explain that you are thinking of moving to the neighbourhood and ask them how they like it. You will be able to gauge what they are like and what kind of neighbours they will be from a simple conversation. If you want to be extra cautious, ask them the following questions.

  • Are you renting or a homeowner?
  • Are you operating a business from your home?
  • Are you a musician?
  • Do you host a lot of parties?
  • How do you get along with neighbours in the area?

This conversation will give you a good understanding of what they would be like as neighbours and might give you some additional insight into the neighbourhood. If it goes well, you could even have a new connection in the neighbourhood before you move in.

Check Out the Neighbourhood on A Crime Map

Alberta RCMP publishes crime information down to the street level on the Crime Stoppers website. You can search for your potential new neighbourhood and zoom in on the street to see if there have been any crimes reported in the area. It will even tell you what the type of crime was. If there is an excess of crimes reported in the area, it may affect your choice.


If you are ready to buy a home or have more questions about how to scope out your potential neighbours, contact me today!

Duane Springsteel     
Duane Springsteel