Today’s lesson:  when choosing a house to buy, a lot of things come into play, but don’t underestimate the power of a crappy-ass nosy-nelly next door. 

Most people would naturally assume that finding a good locale is a huge part of the decision.  Maybe the cost would be a factor in your choice (as it was in mine because I make a teacher’s salary!).  Perhaps you even pondered the amount of square footage or the number of bathrooms.  All are extremely important when sacrificing the idea you will be in debt for the rest of your natural life (unless of course you are one of those people I am deeply envious of and hate on my good days).  However, I’m here to tell you a crucial part of any housing selection:  your future neighbors!

OMG!  Neighbors make you want to stick around forever or move out immediately. 

I hear of these mythical creatures that live next door to you and babysit your kids when needed or have block parties for drinking and grilling every weekend.  Again, there are rumors, but I’ve never actually experienced it!  Instead, I think it best to tell you what you should shy away from:

1. Avoid living in a dorm room next to a dope-smoking drama major.  I think that’s self-explanatory.  I realize you don’t always have a say in the matter, but for future reference, steer clear of cheech and chong’s turf.

2. When moving into an apartment, visit at various times throughout the day before signing that lease.  Don’t be afraid to check for that subway-station-earthquake rumble that moves your stuff off the shelves. 

Reference the type of cars in the parking lot, too.  If it looks like the CASH ONLY used car lot – you might want to go elsewhere. 

But most importantly, take a whiff around.  That’s right – not only should you take a look around, but breathe in, breathe out, too.  If the curry scent burns your nostrils, it’s probably going to disintegrate your clothes as well.  No need to smell like a 3rd world country at work everyday if you can evade it. 

3. Finally, and more specifically, when buying a house, Google your future bffs on the block.  If they ask if you have pets or children and their response is and I quote, “oh, goody, goody, gumdrops” – run, run like the wind!  Run like they could only hope Forrest would have!  But if that doesn’t faze you, it might then be wise to follow up with questions of them.  Ask about religious beliefs, pet peeves, law suits among constituents, and long-standing feuds of the Hatfield vs. McCoy variety.  That way you might save yourself from living next to 2 families of Jehovah’s Witnesses that don’t particularly care for your Clark Griswold Christmas display.  Amazingly, those same people might just find the need to piss you off by doing things like parking their 10 cars behind your driveway when they have an area the size of a Walmart parking lot to proudly display their many vans for their many skills – carpet cleaning, chrome detailing, decoupage, card playing, home schooling, and geek fashion styling.

Hopefully, these tips will keep you on the path to the proper home.  If you have, unfortunately, already purchased that house down Gunshot Lane, I can probably recommend some quality revenge tactics, the likes of which I will completely deny.  Yet, if you see a rather large “SOLD” sign in my front yard, don’t be surprised if across the street, a big heap of rusted metal on four rims shows up band-aided together with bumper stickers saying God on Board, Merry Effing Christmas, and Honk if U Love Jesus.  Just promise me you’ll give them a beep, beep!