A Question of Neighbours
Once in awhile the question gets asked - "What do you know about the neighbours?" or "Who lives next door?" Whether the question is directed at me representing a buyer or directly to the seller or their agent, this is basically an open mine field for anyone who actually wants to attempt to answer. The question it seems gets asked more frequently by folks looking at high and medium density complexes as opposed to single family residential neighbourhoods. Closer living quarters equals closer contact.
The reasons why buyers ask are usually based around personal safety, level of interaction and how people tend to get along, noise, expectations of participation etc. (Though in my experience they aren't actually able to define what they want to know clearly) All very difficult for anyone to assess and pass fair judgement. And that's what it is - a judgement based on personal experiences, perceptions, expectations, desires, personal like and dislikes. Some people do have biases about who the people who maybe living around them but how someone else describes another person is very subjective. Is it the realtor to suss out ‘kind of people' will live near you? There's also a bigger question of ethics underlying the smaller question of wanting to know about the neighbours.
If you ask someone about neighbour and they tell you he has a slight mental health problem - what exactly does that mean? It means nothing really because there is no substance behind the statement. If you ask the woman who was cheated on by her husband by a neighbour, she may have nothing nice to say even though the "culprit" maybe a very nice individual. Maybe someone doesn't like kids - or at least the neighbour's kids. Maybe a neighbour doesn't like certain cooking smells and has made an opinion of someone based on that. This could go on indefinitely. It happens all the time and it's all about a point of view. At some point, this could be detrimental to the seller.
If a buyer is truly concerned (and they should be) about criminal activity, sex offenders and drug houses, and property crimes, that information is easily accessed by anyone including the realtor through local crime statistics and a quick search on the internet of community news stories. This is fact based information and part of my role to help people make educated decisions about where they want to live.
If a buyer truly feels the need to know about neighbours, than they need to do the legwork themselves of driving around, talking with people, knocking on doors, asking personal/private questions, talking with property managers etc. The can then form their own opinions based on the opinions of others.