Do you have Bad Neighbors? How to tell when buying a house

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with LemonTree Realty

I was watching the today show this morning and they had an interesting segment on about bad neighbors how to spot them and what to do. Here are some tips.

1. The racket maker - screaming moms, fighting spouses, horn honking and tire squealing drivers, loud music fanatics and late-night partiers

2. The property line fanatic - someone who trims boundary trees and sends you the bill

3. The slob, like one who lets the grass grow, puts trash out days in advance, and leaves garbage cans unlocked

4. The careless pet owner

5. The extreme weirdo - drunks, drug dealers, and the neighbor that never says anything

Spot them out
If you don't want to end up with one of the above as your new neighbor, here's what you can do to spot them early:

1. Cruise the neighborhood at night. You'll see the guy next door while he's at home (rather than at work).  Most people make the mistake of seeing a home during the day and looking again during the same time a few days later.

2. Talk with the local store owners. They're always the first to tell you who the pains are, who stiffed them, and who's involved in a lawsuit.  ("I'm thinking of buying the Smith house.  Do you know it?  Know the street?  What are the neighbors like?")

3. Walk the neighborhood during rush hour. Not just block, but the four blocks surrounding yours.  Befriend a few neighbors along the way.  ("I'm thinking of buying the Smith House at 12 Maple Avenue.  Do you know the neighbors?  What are they like?").

4. Look for basketball hoops, skateboard ramps, and trampolines, all tell-tale signs of the racket-maker.

5. Watch and listen for the barking and unleashed neighborhood dogs. 

6. Poke around the town clerk's office to find out which neighbors have filed for what, like permits for building a house extension over the next 12 months, a noisy new tennis court, or a new pool.

7. Take a cyberspace tour on ‘Google Street View' to check out empty lots and backyards that look like a landfill.

8. Check on-line registries for the location of any local sex offenders.

Don't buy next door to certain establishments
Be sure to stay away from the following:

Country clubs
Empty lots
Bus stops
Halfway houses
Garbage routes
Intersections with stop signs

How to handle bad neighbors
If you are already in the situation of having nasty neighbors, here are some failsafe strategies:

1. Call ahead and pick a time to talk. 

2. Meet on the sidewalk or on the property line.

3. Don't accuse; let them know how the problem bothers you and suggest ways to solve it together. 

4. If that doesn't work, check out local noise and disturbance ordinances and write a personal letter.  Offer a solution.

5. Consult your condo or block association.  Ask them to send a standard letter citing the ordinance or by-law.  A condominium association's right of first refusal is a little-known clause that can be used to buy your neighbor out.

6. Should that fail, call your local precinct.  Keep a record of your complaint.

7. Call in an expert mediator.  (To find a mediator, check with your local courthouse, police precinct, or bar association).

8. As a last resort, file a complaint in court.

9. For the property line fanatic, walk the property line together to determine what belongs to whom; consider having the property surveyed to nip the problem in the bud.

Posted by

Follow me on Twitter  Connect with me on LinkedInYou TubeSubscribe to my RSS feedFacebookGoogle me!

Heather Unger, GRI, NRBA, CLHMS, CDPE, WinDs

RE/MAX Central Realty

www.HeatherTheRealtor.com     (407) 810-6304

Our Team Specializes in Luxury Real Estate, First Time Home Buyers, Short Sales, Bank Owned Real Estate, REO & Foreclosure Properties

Servicing Real Estate Needs in: Lake Mary, Longwood, Winter Springs, Sanford, Altamonte Springs, Oviedo, Orlando, Downtown Orlando, Thornton Park, College Park, Winter Park, Maitland, Windermere, UCF, Lake Nona, Baldwin Park, Apopka, Ocoee & Winter Garden

 

Comments (9)

Rebecca Savitski
BSR Real Estate Group - Cary, NC
NC Real Estate Listings
I wish I had done this before moving. I have all of the bad neighbors around me.
Aug 21, 2007 12:20 AM
Al Maxwell
Keller Williams - Marietta, GA
Real Estate Agent
Excellent, excellent post! What a great check list to follow. I also suggest looking at the CARS in the neighborhood. There are some areas of Atlanta wher you have 3/2 ranches that sell for over $700,000. Usually it's a fancy car in the driveway!
Aug 21, 2007 12:25 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County
You are right. The neighbors are one of the areas a lit of buyers dont consider. Good neighbors, like me!, are a joy. Actually I am kidding about me. Nice job!
Aug 21, 2007 12:44 AM
Jessica Horton Jessica Horton Realty
Jessica Horton - Jessica Horton & Associates - Griffin, GA
Jessica Horton: I'm not #1... You Are!
I have a very bad set of neighbors right now!!!!!  They are awful!  They insist upon coming over to every showing and feel that it is their duty to inform the buyers that the previous couple that lived in the house were African Americans.  WTH does that have to do with the price of tea in China?????? 

Sadly, the home hasn't sold and it is a beautiful home.  It isn't the fact that my clients are African American and nobody wants to live in the home...it's the fact that nobody wants to live next to the ignorant, racist hicks next door!
Aug 21, 2007 12:50 AM
Anonymous
Michelle
To the Jessica the realtor:  perhaps you should refer your clients and youself to the nearest fair housing office or HUD for that matter. What the neighbors are doing may be in violation of federal law. 
Aug 21, 2007 01:00 AM
#5
Alix Pinzon
Open Mortgage, LLC NMLS # 2975 - Downey, CA
(562)743-6086
I lived across the street from a #5 (Extreme Wierdo).  Who sold Meth from his mothers' home, collected junk (garage and back yard were full), had two pit bulls that he would let roam around his front yard, and worked on his loud car after 1 am.  Long story short, I moved.  Great post!
Nov 18, 2007 12:54 PM
Anonymous
lily

I just moved in to a community full of teen boys who love skate hours and hours in the cal-de-sec and throw trash on street, sidewalk and my yard. Especially, my next door boy skate as early as 7 a.m in weekend. I told him to skate in front house since he always skate there, and my bedroom is in the back. I was waken by the skateboard noise many times. His sick mother post a big letter on my side wall, it says "I was born here, we can do whatever we want to do, you are immigrants, you should tolerate the noise." and thereaten me that she will call police if I talk to his so again. His son si 13-14 years old. What should I do?

May 22, 2008 06:55 AM
#7
Anonymous
lily

I just moved in to a community full of teen boys who love skate hours and hours in the cal-de-sec and throw trash on street, sidewalk and my yard. Especially, my next door boy skate as early as 7 a.m in weekend. I told him to skate in front house since he always skate there, and my bedroom is in the back. I was waken by the skateboard noise many times. His sick mother post a big letter on my side wall, it says "I was born here, we can do whatever we want to do, you are immigrants, you should tolerate the noise." and thereaten me that she will call police if I talk to his so again. His son si 13-14 years old. What should I do?

May 22, 2008 06:55 AM
#8
Heather the Realtor Orlando, Lake Mary
LemonTree Realty - Orlando, FL
First Time Home Buyers, Bank Owned Homes

Hi Lily,

Wow that is terrible. Are you in an HOA neighborhood? They may have rules as many do against skateboarding on sidewalks and on roads. If so turn them in to the HOA to be warned then eventually fined. I would document every occurance of you speaking with the mother and son and the letter. I would also call the cops to complain and see if anything can be done about the letter. I wouldnt call 911 just the local police department and explain the letter you received and what you can do about the kids skateboards. I know a lot of local parks now have skateboarding parks and that is where this little brats should be going.

May 22, 2008 06:59 AM