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Move for the Right Reason

24 August 2011

There are many reasons why we would consider moving house. We would suggest that the main ones are:

-          Need more room

-          Move nearer to family

-          Work relocation

-          Perceived better area

Well an article in the Daily Telegraph on the 6th August changed my perception on this. They were reporting on new research from CPP an insurance company that revealed a million people have moved house due to disputes with neighbours. It is not clear over what period these figures relate to but this is absolutely astounding when put into context of the current housing market. A normal housing market would see approx. 1.1m  transactions. The last few years have only seen between 500,000 and 600,000 transactions and 2011 is expected to be similar again. So two years worth of transactions are equal to neighbour disputes.

So how do we get over this? The Telegraph had some handy hints which included:

-          Do introduce yourself to all new neighbours. It is simple courtesy.

-          Do ask neighbours to a barbecue if you are planning to hold one.

-          Don’t shove prissy letters of complaint through a neighbours letterbox. A personal approach is far more effective.

-          Don’t let yourself become obsessed by recurring minor irritants. Retain your sense of perspective.

Was it really just about the neighbours or was that the catalyst to make people actually take the plunge? We all have plans and ideas about what we do and where we want to live. It normally takes an event to spark us into action.

What does not come out in the article or in the report is the potential ramifications of this. Part of the solicitor pack now includes a question “Have there been any disputes with neighbours?” Also most potential purchasers will ask about the neighbours during a viewing. Previously it was always caveat emptor – buyer beware but this should not be the situation anymore.

We have yet to see any test cases relating to this but I am sure it is only a matter of time.

When buying or selling a house it is important that you are doing it for the right reasons. If you are moving because of the neighbours then make sure you are not jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. Do more than ask questions of the seller. Have more than one viewing and at different times of the day. Also visit the street at different times even if not viewing to see if things are different. Why not talk to other people in the street?

Ultimately make sure you move for the right reasons and use the crib sheet from the Daily Telegraph. You never know you may find some very nice people!

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