When you buy a house, the biggest factor is location, location, location, as the old saying goes.

But right up there on the list of pluses and minuses is who your neighbors are.

You can have the best house in the best neighborhood, but if your neighbors like to throw wild parties, have screaming kids or loud, barking dogs, your dream home can become more like a nightmare in a hurry.

Fortunately for my wife and myself, we have been blessed with some very friendly, conscientious neighbors — and that means a lot.

In the eight years that my wife and I have lived in our current home, we’ve had the same neighbors living on one side, and three sets of neighbors living on the other — and all have been friendly, quiet and considerate.

That’s a huge plus, because to paraphrase Forrest Gump, neighbors are like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.

Having lived in an apartment for many years, I know all too well how quickly a quiet complex can be disrupted by loud music, late-night parties and fighting tenants.

I had one guy living above me who cooked chorizo with lots of garlic every Saturday morning. The odor wafting down the air shaft was so strong it woke me out of a sound sleep. Another guy had a video game that featured loud, racing cars and motorcycles — and he played for hours at a time.

I’ve seen and heard it all.

My wife has had her share of neighbor headaches as well, including an upstairs neighbor who insisted on doing her laundry at 3 a.m. and a nextdoor couple whose pet ferrets were so stinky, she could smell their musky odor coming through the wall sockets.

Needless to say, we really appreciate good neighbors. And to this day, every time something happens to disrupt the status quo in our neighborhood, I get a bit nervous.

So, a couple of months ago, when I pulled out of the driveway and saw the real estate sign next door with the words “Coming Soon,” I started anxiously wondering who was going to replace the sweet old couple who had lived there for the past three years.

I expressed my concerns to my wife, and she said, “Well, let’s pray about it. God knows who we need living there. Just turn it over to Him.”

So we did.

A few weeks later, I watched as movers hauled in furniture nextdoor. I kept waiting for a glimpse of the new homeowners, but no luck.

Several days went by. Except for an occasional bark from beyond the fence and a sometimes-open garage door, we couldn’t tell anyone was living there. Could anyone be this quiet?

Then, a couple of Sundays later as we were returning home, we saw our new neighbors standing in their driveway. As we pulled into the garage, the young couple walked over and introduced themselves.

We couldn’t have asked for friendlier folks. They had just moved here from out of state, as the husband had accepted a veterinary job in the area. His wife hadn’t lined up a job yet, but she was in the dental field, so her odds were pretty good.

We must have chatted for about 20 minutes, and then they took off on an evening run.

That night, my wife and I reflected on the situation and how we had been richly blessed.

As is the case with our longtime neighbors on the other side, it’s reassuring to have people you know and trust living a few feet away.

That’s a plus the real estate market simply can’t put a price on.

Dave Miller is deputy managing editor for opinion of the Killeen Daily Herald and editor of the Harker Heights Herald. Contact him at dmiller@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7543.

Dave Miller is deputy managing editor for opinion of the Killeen Daily Herald and editor of the Harker Heights Herald. Contact him at dmiller@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7543.

Dave Miller is deputy managing editor for opinion of the Killeen Daily Herald and editor of the Harker Heights Herald. Contact him at dmiller@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7543.

dmiller@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7543

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