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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Interviewing Neighbors

"How Much Do the Neighbors Trust Each Other?"

One of the standard pieces of advice I give to my Buyer clients is to chat up prospective neighbors (also mail carriers, but only if they've been on the route at least six months).

Who knows better than them if the neighborhood is safe, the local schools are good, people are friendly, etc.?

It's also my experience that people who like where they live are more than happy (if not eager) to "sell" their neighborhood to prospective Buyers -- as long as they introduce themselves properly and don't knock on the door at 10 p.m.

In his column today, New York Times columnist David Brooks corroborates this approach, and adds this gloss:

If you want to find a good place to live, just ask people if they trust their neighbors. Levels of social trust vary enormously, but countries with high social trust have happier people, better health, more efficient government, more economic growth, and less fear of crime (regardless of whether actual crime rates are increasing or decreasing).

--David Brooks, "The Sandra Bullock Trade"; The New York Times (3/30/2010)

The only question I have is of the "chicken and egg" variety: which comes first -- "high social trust, " or happier people, better health, more economic growth, etc.?

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