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Walking the ‘hood. The people

Posted by Rona Fischman February 24, 2011 01:48 PM

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Last weekend, I showed a single family house in an urban neighborhood that my clients did not know well. You can learn a lot about a neighborhood from walking around talking to the neighbors and looking at the houses. It was a pretty day, so we took a stroll.

The next-door neighbor was eyeing everyone coming and going from the open house. He has his motorcycle running in his front lawn. He said it was a great neighborhood. He lived there all his life. The lady next door was in her 90s. She knew his parents before he was even born. The only thing wrong with the neighborhood was the students who come and go and don’t care.

My clients listened politely and remained pleasant and positive. Then, he said he goes to work every morning at 4:30 and rides a Harley with no muffler during the better weather. This bike is his winter bike, which is smaller and quieter… I took the encounter as hostile. My clients were not daunted. What do you think? Hostile or a friendly warning?

Then we walked our way around the block. As we approached a driveway, a mini-van pulled into it. We yielded right of way. A nine-or-so year old gave us the thumbs up. When they parked, we asked about the neighborhood. The father owned there about 5 years. He lived in the area as a renter for a long time before buying. He reported that the snow clearing was pretty good. The road noise from the nearest busy street was not a problem. He loved it. (I left some dead air…) But, the church next door used to have two congregations in it. The one that left used to make a lot of noise. Since they left, the remaining group plays music two nights a week until 9, but it isn’t loud enough to bother him. That guy, I rank as clearly friendly and helpful. His information helped, too, since the house for sale was right behind the church.

When we got back around the block to the open house, the next-door neighbor was still there. Now he was glaring at everyone and still running his motorcycle. Looking at him the second time, I began to think about his motivations. Was he trying to stake his right to live there, early morning motorcycle included? What do you think – is he hostile or is he scared about getting flack from a new neighbor? Or both?

Are motorcycle riders discriminated against? Do you ride and do you experience a hassle from your neighbors? Do you have a rider in your neighborhood who you wish would sleep late?


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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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