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How well do you know your new neighbors?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis September 16, 2011 06:23 AM

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The kid who got busted after turning his apartment on a quiet Arlington Street into an urban pot farm got me thinking.

Despite the windows being covered with dark plastic, neighbors of the $520,000 Cleveland Street duplex, some of whom have lived on the street for decades, never noticed anything amiss.

Still, the college student has good taste in real estate. After all, you could do worse that Arlington - you could easily shell out $550,000 to $600,000 to buy a home in the area.

There were a couple stories after that about even more flagrant neighbor antics - this Roxbury house was being used as a brothel.

When you are looking at buying a house or condo, you inevitably end up gambling when it comes to your new neighbors.

There are some obvious cues - if the house next door looks like an auto repair shop or a junkyard, no need to do any extensive sleuthing.

If you are lucky, maybe you strike up a conversation with a potential neighbor while he is mowing the lawn - if he's unarmed or isn't yelling at a mean looking dog to stop barking, I guess those are all good signs.

But of course, those are pretty easy signs to read.

With background checks now readily available, you could try and turn up some dirt online.

But who has time for that? And that doesn't help you if the house next door gets sold and your nightmare neighbor moves in.

Believe me, it can happen.

You can choose your house, but you have a limited ability to choose your neighbors other than opting not to buy. And if the price is right - and this is still a tough one to get right here in perpetually overpriced Greater Boston - it might just be worth overlooking some eccentricities.

That's my theory? What's yours?


This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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