You can repaint the entire exterior, landscape to perfection, and even buy new patio furniture but sometimes no matter how great your efforts to increase the curb appeal on your home, the untidy house next door (or even one down the street) can pose a major challenge to getting your home sold.
This problem has become even more common over the past few years as foreclosures rates have risen. Houses that are abandoned or bank owned become neglected; the lawn and plants are overgrown, the shutters are falling apart, and there’s trash left all over the yard.
Other cases may involve a neighbor that isn’t keeping up with the maintenance on their home because of a handicap, a financial hardship, stresses like a new job, etc. And in more rare but also more horrific circumstances, a neighbor may deliberately sabotage the sale of your home. According to an article in Realtor Magazine, “a man in Brighton, Colo., was accused of sabotaging his neighbor’s home sale. The man posted warning signs to potential buyers on his recreational vehicle parked outside of his home. He wanted to let would-be buyers know what they could expect if they moved next to him: Loud parties, loud music, and loud cars”. Jeesh!
So how can these potential bad neighbor problems be handled?
If you’re a part of an HOA, it’s worth contacting them about the troubled property. They will often pay for the maintenance of an abandoned and/or unkempt home in the neighborhood. The bank will then have to approve these costs before the property is sold.
Obviously, the situation is more sensitive when dealing with an occupied home that has become an eyesore. The owner may feel embarrassed, offended, or intruded upon by your attempts to get the property looking better, so be as tactful as possible. Approach the situation as an attempt to lend a hand and not as an attack. You can even consider getting your church or local boy scouts den to join in. That way you won’t have to go it alone and it will seem like more of a neighborhood project than directed at one particular property. In some cases, (perhaps if the owner is a senior or is disabled), your attempts may be greatly appreciated.
So what if your neighbor is just plain difficult and lazy? Unfortunately if a reasonable request to have the property cared for doesn’t work, it may be the type of situation where you must focus only on what you can control. After making sure the outside of your home is looking in top shape, make sure that the views from the inside of your home aren’t offensive. IF your upstairs bedroom has a clear view of the neighbor’s trashed backyard, consider installing plantation shutters. They will block the not-so-pleasant view while still allowing light in. Also, shrubs and ivy are a good addition to outdoor fences and aid in creating a sight barrier.
If you’re considering involving the authorities with a bad neighbor, keep in mind that unless direct threats were made to you or the property is causing a health hazard, there is not a lot they can do. You can also check local municipal codes. Though reading through them can be time consuming, you may find something useful to your dilemma.
“Residents sometimes can lean on municipal laws, administered through the building department, health department or similar entity, to get neighbors to clean up their act, said Neil Garfinkel, a Manhattan real-estate attorney with Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson”.
An eyesore in the neighborhood may have the potential to scare off some buyers and bring down the property value of your home, but to many others, they can be seen as a buying opportunity. Buyers with a more urban outlook, for example, may not be bothered at all by the ugly house down the street. Not all buyers are interested in a conformed looking neighborhood.
Hope this helps!
Courtesy of MSN Real Estate and Realtor Magazine