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Did you ever spend gargantuan amounts of time obsessing about a particular decision or purchase? Which graduate school should you attend? What kind of car should you buy? Or spending weeks and weeks and weeks waiting for the perfect deal, or for a good-used version of some product that you want to come up for sale?

What sorts of things do we obsess over like this? Why? I used to think it was simply that we obsessed over large expenditure items, but that can’t be the case. Consider one thing that surprises me. When we choose a home to live in, that is often a multi-year or even a lifetime commitment. And moving from home to home is extremely costly, especially if you are talking about ownership. Given that your home is the place you spend most of your time, and the people who live around your home are the people you nominally see more than anyone, how come we don’t actually interview and talk with people who might be our future neighbors? Well, we know that it is a pain in the neck, awkward and a perhaps sends a bad signal about oneself to future neighbors, but that explanation doesn’t satisfy me. So, why don’t we do much more due diligence on the specifics of who lives near our homes? I’ve certainly never bothered to do it (I use heuristics I suppose), nor has anyone ever knocked on my door to see who I was before they chose to move near my home.

For example, I have spent more mental time and energy trying to figure out the right equipment for one of my simple hobbies than I have ever thought about my neighbor situation.

2 Responses to “Things That Surprise Me (or should they not)”

  1. ParkAveJon09 says:

    Here’s my take:

    I suppose one answer could be that your choice of neighborhood gives you enough information on its own about your compatibility with the surrounding homeowners. For such a seemingly important decision (home ownership & location), it would stand to be true that what makes a certain home a good fit for you ALSO makes it a good fit for your neighbors.

    Price, quality of local schools, city vs suburbs vs rural, etc. are crucial factors in choosing a home that every (or most) future buyer takes into account. In choosing a home based on these factors, and assuming that others have made their choice based on the same or similar factors, you’ve essentially ensured a neighborhood composed of like-minded and harmonious people. In the end, you already know a lot about your neighbors before you ever live there, and going house-to-house interviewing them is simply not worth your time.

  2. Michael says:

    I’ve had the advise from my father that if I am going to live somewhere new, to rent an apartment for the first year until you learn the area and where you’ll want to live. ParkAveJon09 above has some good thoughts about proxies, too.

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