Searching for or building a new custom Florida home requires a massive amount of preparation.
There’s so much you have to know, and so much you probably don’t know, that all the websites and handouts and conversations with builders and real estate agents eventually run the risk of coalescing into a blur.
Add that to the fact that family, work and personal lives must continue humming along in the background, and you’ve got a recipe for house-hunting overwhelm.
There is one way to get the lowdown on potential new communities, however. Talk to the people who already live there. Those early settlers could be your new neighbors, and odds are you’ll get a realistic sense of how the community lives day-to-day, and its residents impressions of it.
Word-of-mouth is the truest advertising, good or bad. So flag down the guy watering flower beds or the woman preparing to head out for a bicycle ride.
Here’s three good reasons why you should talk to the neighbors when you’re house hunting.
You get a head-start on meeting new neighbors
Duh, right? Don’t laugh. Talking to people who already live where you might want to can be the deciding factor if you’re trying to decide which community to choose.
You’ll get a sense of who lives there and what kind of folks the community attracts. If you and your family are like-minded, those can be positive vibes and a sign that the neighborhood might be a good fit.
The reverse is true, too. Bad vibes might be a sign to keep searching for a better fit.
Neighbors (usually) don’t sugar-coat
They may be polite, but they’ll tell it like it is if they had a bad experience, a cranky neighbor or constantly had to beg a contractor to fix a faulty sprinkler system.
Use your own filter when you listen to this. The person you’re talking to may have had a personality conflict with those in question. Perhaps perfectionism is involved. Maybe this person just likes to complain.
But if you hear similar things — good or bad — from several potential new neighbors, treat it seriously. They’re likely on to something and are passing it along for your benefit.
Neighbors can give you intelligence about the surrounding area
This is an underrated advantage, even if you’ve done endless online searching. Smart home-buyers carefully consider many factors when choosing a new community. It’s not only critical to find the right fit in a home, but in recreation, shopping, dining, and other services too.
For example, where in a new city or its suburbs do you want to live? In Florida, how close to the beach? Major highways? What are the pros and cons?
Asking potential new neighbors where to grab a quick lunch can lead to all sorts of valuable information. To start, you’ll already know a lunch spot or two if you come back for additional house-hunting visits. Long-term, those neighborly recommendations can clue you in to other discoveries, such as rumors of a new shopping center or fire station nearby.
Ready to live your Florida lifestyle? opens in a new windowTalk to ICI Homes here.