Good neighbors know when to stay behind the fence and when to open the gate and walk in.
Our home property values are important. They quantify our ability to build equity, own a part of the American Dream, and save for the future.
Last week, I showed you how your neighbors can help you sell your home. This week, we will plunge into how you may be able to prevent neighbors from negatively impacting your property values.
Why You Need a Plan to Deal With Bad Neighbors
Prospective homebuyers are on the lookout for anything, big or small, to help negotiate a better deal on your home. This, of course, assumes they stick around long enough to make an offer. Anything from a neighbor with an unkempt yard to a loud neighborhood dog can slow or stop the sale of your home. Don’t give prospective buyers a reason to cross your home of their list.
A bad neighbor, or even worse a bad neighborhood, can lower your property values anywhere from 5% to 10%.
*With the average housing price in Sanpete County hovering around $180,000, that can mean a loss of $9,000 to $18,000. That is nothing to scoff at!
How To Deal With Neighbors Whose Homes are Lowering Your Property Value
Before we outline a plan, I want you to put down your torches and pitchforks. The main goal of dealing with a bad neighbor will be to increase your property value by increasing your neighbor’s curb appeal without making an enemy.
Your neighbor may be neglecting their property, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a good reason for doing so. Medical issues, money problems and long work hours often plague “bad” neighbors. So as a good neighbor yourself, you should offer to help in any way you can!
How To Deal With a Bad Neighbor Shortlist
For the skimmers!
- Build a solid relationship with your neighbors from the moment you meet them. Hindsight is 20/20.
- Keep your neighbors in the loop about the sale of your home.
- Offer to help your neighbors.
- Offer to pay to improve your neighbor’s property. Make sure you don’t overstep and control the decision. It is their property, after all.
- Use HOA rules, city ordinances and the local police to help with deeper problems.
- Block the view. Out of sight out of mind.
- Speak with your neighbor, and offer to lend some equipment or time to help tidy up the yard.
- Get the whole neighborhood together for an organized clean up. Everyone helps everyone, the job gets done quickly, and you all benefit.
- Offer to pay for landscaping maintenance. It will save you money in the long run. ($18,000, remember?)
- Check local ordinances and HOA rules and report your neighbor for violations. This should be used as a last resort.
- Let your neighbor know you are selling your home and ask nicely for their
junkcollectibles to be organized or stowed away.
- Offer to buy a cheap shed or help move the items out of direct site of your prospective buyers.
- Get together with all the neighbors in the neighborhood and collectively pay for a dumpster that everyone can use to clean up their junk.
- Contact city authorities. If you think your neighbor has a serious problem, then a call to the city may be what they need to shed light on their habit.
- Offer to buy a new tarp or car cover for the vehicle.
- Offer to pay for the storage of the vehicle in a garage.
- Call your city hall and ask about city ordinances governing land use.
- If you think a vehicle is an abandoned vehicle, contact the Sanpete Sheriff’s Department.
Dirty Home Exterior, Fences, Driveways and Sidewalks
Power-wash your own house or pay to have it done, then offer to do the neighbor’s exterior, driveway, fence and pathways, too. If someone came to my door and asked if I wanted my house cleaned for free, I wouldn’t say no!
Ask your agent to find the bank that owns the property. Most banks hire professionals to maintain properties, but they may not be aware of the property’s condition.
- It is proper etiquette to bring the problem to the neighbor first!
- Ask your neighbor to keep it down. Often neighbors don’t even know they are being loud and offensive to others.
- If all else fails, contact your HOA or the police during offenses.
Let your neighbor know that their loud animals may hinder the sale of your home, and you would appreciate anything they can do to help you. Call animal control if issues get out of hand and the neighbor expresses no concern.
This is where following my guide on how to enlist neighbors to help sell your home will help out.
Nosy neighbors want to be involved, so spend some time with them and share how the home sale process is going and what they can do to help. The more they talk about your home for sale, the more people will hear about it.
Extremely Bad Neighbors
If your neighbor is verbally abusive and likes to make threats, then you are going to be stuck with contacting the local police department. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way.
In very rare cases, I have seen owners get restraining orders to protect themselves.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
If the view from your home to your neighbor’s is less than desired, it may be time to put something between you.
A nice privacy fence, a wall, or some trees should do the trick. This will show buyers that you cared for your privacy and made your home a personal sanctuary.
Kill them with
a shovel kindness, and you will be rewarded for your efforts! You may not like your neighbor or like dealing with them, but the flip side is a loss of your hard earned property value. Take control of the situation. It’s worth it.
In continuing with this series, I will be writing about how to tell if a home you want to buy may have bad neighbors. Look for it soon.