Open Thread

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This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.


  1. Sarah Osborne

    The home next door is for sale. How can I politely tell prospective buyers that they need to do their own research when they ask me questions about the property? I don’t mind being friendly but I think it is to their advantage to use concrete sources to obtain this information.

    • Elizabeth

      I agree with Vanna – their checking in with you is likely a part of their research. I don’t think it’s possible to get a mortgage without having an inspection done. If you know anything about the property, you might tell them if you think it would be helpful. Or, if you are not sure about anything or don’t want to negatively impact your neighbor’s chances of selling the house, you might simply say that you don’t have any information that would be useful.

      • Alicia

        That non commital answer would have had me paranoid digging records expecting to find that it had been a drug house or there had been a murder. YEs smart home buyers look at records but they also ask locals. For example my neighbors house is for sale and when they asked me I mentioned the convient store cup littering and that you hear the little league games. An honest answer is good but unless there is a reason to be obtuse about it the message you send with your answer is either that you are an unfriendly neighbor or that there is something really really major wrong and one should absolutely not by that house which is bad for your property value.

        • Joanna

          But, I can see Sarah’s predicament – you know how people can be. If it turns out that there is some issue that arises in the future and she didn’t mention it, the new neighbors might end up blaming *her* for it. And likewise, if she mentions something that might be a problem, and it ends up going away or not being as big a deal as the people think, it’ll be the same thing (e.g. “Wow, the way that Sarah spoke of the kids down the street being really loud, I expected to hear them shrieking inside the house with the AC on! And to think we almost didn’t make an offer on the house because of that…) So, you really just don’t want to get involved if you can at all help it.

  2. Vanna Keiler

    Hi Sarah. If I could play the devil’s advocate, may I suggest that perhaps they want to learn about the community around the prospective home, things you may have seen first-hand, as a neighbor regarding the home, and issues you have noticed yourself?

    Otherwise, I agree with you: the prospective buyers should pay for a home inspection before making any formal purchase on the home. Buyer beware, as they say. That would be the only way to know for certain what issues the home may have. I would say (if true): “I have not heard or seen anything about the home’s condition, but would recommend you get a home inspection done for ANY home you are interested in purchasing.”

  3. Sarah

    Thanks to all. I don’t want to be unkind to the buyers but I also don’t really want to answer any questions because the home needs a ton of work. Over the years I never saw the owners maintain anything! Then they just walked away from the house a couple of years ago.

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