Do I Have To Tell About the Neighbors?

Reblogger Aida Pinto
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Independent Real Estate Broker DRE#00972295

"Christmas light left up all year long" is the one that bugs me the most! Karen does a great job, and I am sure she would appreciate your comment.

Disclosure in real estate is everything but sometimes it's hard to figure out what is best to leave out when it's just a matter of preference or a minor annoyance and not really a "material fact about the property," which should ALWAYS be disclosed.

So how do you decided if something is minor annoyance?  Rule of thumb: When you are not sure but if it bothers you then it might bother the buyer, so disclose it.  If it doesn't bother the buyer then no harm done! Better safe than sorry, I always say!

Original content by Karen Crowson BRE#01732313

Woman with Hand Over Her MouthWhen speaking with prospective sellers about selling their homes, the topic of disclosures of course always comes up. "Do I have to tell about the neighbors? And while most people have great relationships with others on their block, there are some who have minor annoyances they share, such as:

  • Too many cars parked in front 
  • Unkept yards
  • Garbage cans left out in front of the house 
  • Christmas light left up all year long 
  • RV parking that obstructs a neighbor's view 
  • Trees that overhang into a neighboring yard 
  • Loud parties Barking dogs 

Now some of these things will be apparent to prospective buyers, but others not as much. If something is a material fact about the property it must be disclosed to the buyer. Many a seller has found themselves In a pickle after the fact for failure to disclose. Say for instance that your neighbor has a huge tree with branches that encroach into your yard, and they refuse to properly trim it so that it doesn't create a fire hazard next to your chimney. A buyer would want to know that they either have to work out a satisfactory arrangement with the neighbor, or will have to maintain the tree on their side of the property. (I know of one case where the neighbors had actually been to small claims court to deal with the problem.)

Neighbors are apt to have better relationships if they understand how the things they do affect each others property values. Someday when you are ready to sell your home, what your neighbor does or does not do, can affect the perceived or real value of your home. and if you see that your neighbor has put their home on the market, consider what things you can do to make sure their home is presented in a good light.

After all, one day you may need the same kind of cooperation.


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Aida Pinto

Real Estate Broker (562) 884-6196
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