Everyone probably knows someone in their neighborhood who is the busy-body or the neighborhood crank. Recently I heard from someone in a rural neighborhood of 20 acre parcels (where I have several lots listed) that they had seen one of the neighbors tearing out my real estate signs and trashing them so they could not be used again. Evidently they are mad at the seller because the listing has created unwanted traffic on the private lane that serves all of the lots. They must think we will eventually get discouraged and drop the listing. One of the brokers who showed the property said they learned that the wells are 500 ft deep in that area from the “crazy” neighbor. Of course that was a lie, designed to discourage any future buyers. According to the other neighbor who watched the sign demolition, this particular crank always rushes out to confront any potential buyer who ventures down the road as if he was the assigned guard dog. It seems like he is doing everything in his power to discourage buyers. So far, his strategy has worked. Who wants to live next door to someone like that, even if the well was only 100 ft. deep?
The flip side to this miserable scenario is when the information offered by a neighbor is real and becomes valuable to potential buyers. If you really want to know about the house and property you are looking at, or want to hear juicy news about the reason for the sale, just lean over the fence and talk to the neighbor. They are probably outside watching you anyway and may be a wealth of information! That may be when you discover that you don’t want them as a neighbor, but they may know about when that basement flooded (that the seller has not disclosed) or about the meth house across the street that is quiet now,…but not at 2am in the morning. They may tell you about the fence encroachment or the pending street assessment or a myriad of other facts (or fiction).
The next best source of information, fake or real, is from a tenant who lives in a house that is for sale. Since they really don’t want to be displaced and have to move, they will be sure to disclose all of the defects of the property without much coaxing.