How to Deal with a Chore Next Door

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

It may be an uncommon problem, but it’s one that can have an awful impact on your real estate listing: The Messy Neighbor. Your home could lose up to 20% of its market value if the property next door has been “neglected” – especially with buyers looking for any excuse to reduce their offer.

Even though it’s not “technically” your problem, it will be well worth your time and effort to resolve this situation amicably. Always be respectful, and don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Unless you believe your neighbor is “unhinged,” you should begin with a visit to their home and a positive attitude – no name-calling or finger-pointing. And don’t get everyone on the block to gang up on your neighbor either. You’ll get better results if you go alone or with one other person.

If you find your messy neighbor is unwilling to take care of their maintenance, it may still be in your best interest to do the work yourself or with the help of other neighbors. No, it’s not fair, but if you want a fair sales price, this may be your only option. As a last resort, you could file a complaint with your property owners association or city government. You could be referred to a mediator who will help settle your disagreement cordially.


Mike Morgan

Coldwell Banker Real Estate

"For Every Move You Make"

Whether you want to buy or sell a home in Miami, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, Dadeland Walk, South Miami, Coral Gables or Cutler Bay, you can depend on the Morgan team of realtors to assist you every step of the way during your real estate transaction.


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Jerry Cecil
Bloomtree Realty - Prescott, AZ

Good advice.  I think this would be the best approach to a messy neighbor situation.

Jan 02, 2011 11:42 AM #1
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Mike - so funny because I showed a home yesterday that my buyer thought she would be very interested in.  She got out of the car and immediately said, "I won't be buying this home". You could see things piled up through the garage windows.  There was wet trash on the ground near the trash cans.  You could see junk in the yard and the side of the house needed a good power washing and perhaps painting.  It just looked unkempt.

We felt bad for the sellers because they're limited as to what they can do and their home looked nice.  The neighbors will suffer too as they are bringing down the neighborhood (or at least the street) value.


Jan 02, 2011 11:44 AM #2
Pat Fenn
Marketing Specialist for CJ Realty Group/Cindy Jones Broker - Springfield, VA

Interesting.  If it is an empty property it doesn't take much to hire a crew to come in and make quick work of a messy yard.  However if the property is occupied you may find yourself being accused of trespassing if the neighbors don't want to cooperate.

Jan 02, 2011 11:46 AM #3
Karen Monsour
Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
REALTOR, SSRS - Sells FL Waterfront, Short Sale Expert!


You are so right about "The Messy Neighbor".  It's a touchy subject. Offering to help the neighbor clean is often the easiest approach.

Jan 02, 2011 11:47 AM #4
Rob D. Shepherd
Windermere/lane county - Florence, OR
Principal Broker GRI, SRES

I have had this experience before, offered to help and paid the disposal fees, as they could not afford them. Once we got started the whole neighborhood joined in.

Jan 02, 2011 11:51 AM #5

Thank you for all of your comments. This seems to be more frequent now than it ever was. You just need to be tactful in your approach and as some said offer to help if you can. In the long run, it helps the whole neighborhood!!

Jan 03, 2011 03:48 AM #6
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