I’ve been asked this question a number of times. It is an innocent question, and you might understand why a consumer would ask a like-minded Realtor to answer. I am sorry, but I cannot answer that question!
“Why can’t you answer that?” you might ask. Well, what does this question mean? One person could mean something very different compared to someone else. Are they asking if the neighbors look “shady?” Are they asking about the number of juveniles that break curfew on the block? Are they asking about drug crime or violent crime? Are they asking if a terrorist sleeping cell resides on the block? Or maybe they are just asking if the neighbors are “nice” or if the dogs on the block are quiet– who knows!
The point is that a Realtor cannot answer that original question because it is a matter of opinion. Beware of a Realtor that answers, “Oh yeah–this neighborhood is fine.” He or she may be looking to make a quick sale!
Remember that neighborhoods are always changing. Just ask my one buyer who had a questionable neighbor ask her even-more-questionable friend to move in. This character brought druggies and other hoodlums around the block on a regular basis.
You can ask your Realtor for information on certain crime data. I’m doubtful that a Realtor could pull stats off of the top of their head, but they may be able to do research for you. I point my clients to Community Reports which has information on property crime and violent crime in your neighborhood. If you have a cooperative police department, you can call and ask for information on a neighborhood. But perhaps the best homework is done out in the field. I would suggest that you visit the neighborhood at all hours of the day in order to assess the “goodness” of a neighborhood. You know what you are looking for! Also, engage the neighbors in conversation– they’ll tell you more than the seller will!