ING: Research your neighbours before buying

A non-major lender has said that there is “real financial value in home buyers doing their due diligence on new neighbours” before buying a home, after research found that four in five Australians do not research those living in the neighbourhood when purchasing property.

Galaxy Research polled more than 1,000 people for ING DIRECT’s Good Neighbours report in September, and found that Australians are six times more likely to check for termites (25 per cent) than other ‘pests’ when searching for a new neighbourhood to call home.

When scouting for a new home, Australians were found to be most concerned about the proximity to transport (34 per cent), the route to work (28 per cent) and to the nearest convenience store (21 per cent) than what their new neighbour or neighbourhood is like (13 per cent).

Further, the report found that while only 4 per cent of home buyers typically check with police for reports of parties or noise complaints in the neighbourhood prior to moving in, 13 per cent said they would move house to get away from bad neighbours.

According to the Good Neighbours report, those most likely to move due to inhospitable neighbourhoods were those who have lived in their home for less than two years (21 per cent).

As such, John Arnott, executive director, customers at ING DIRECT said that there is “real financial value in home buyers doing their due diligence on new neighbours before picking out the perfect neighbourhood”.

Mr Arnott commented: “While we take into consideration many factors when selecting a new home, what our neighbours are like is not typically high on the checklist.

“Your relationship with your neighbours can have a big impact on your day-to-day life, and given the high cost of buying and moving into a new home, it certainly pays to do as much research as possible.”

He added: “[M]ake sure you check out the neighbours before signing on the dotted line for your new home.”

Mr Arnott suggested that buyers ask the current homeowner, real estate agent, neighbours, and local businesses about their relationship with the neighbours, check with police for complaints, and “open communication” with any problematic neighbours early on to “work towards a positive solution”.

For reference, the report found that the three most-prized actions of “great neighbours” were: “being there for you in an emergency” (35 per cent); “bringing in the rubbish” (34 per cent); and clearing out the mailbox when you're away (32 per cent).

The research also found that those in Western Australia were most satisfied with their neighbours, with 70 per cent saying they had “excellent” or “good” neighbours (and were more likely to say that even their worst neighbour was “excellent” or “good”), while 66 per cent of those in NSW were satisfied with their neighbours, compared to 62 per cent in Victoria and Tasmania.

Those living in South Australia and Queensland were least satisfied with their fellow occupiers, with 58 and 59 per cent citing their neighbours as “excellent” or “good”, respectively.

[Related: FHBs struggle to buy in areas they want]

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Annie Kane

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