Sellers: Are Your Neighbors Affecting the Value of Your Home?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with got agent? MD 636504

You've made up your mind to sell and before you even pick up the phone to call your favorite real estate agent (hopefully, me), you look out your front window and are reminded about why you hesitated selling in the first place.  There's a home that is a real eyesore right next to you (or very close to your home) and you've waited for a number of years for that owner to sell and move away. As it turns out, you're not that lucky.

You're tempted to go over to that neighbor's home and unload on him/her (see above), but we all know that wouldn't be a good idea.  What can you do to remedy this problem?  Here's a few things to try:

  • First of all, what you perceive is a real problem in selling may not be that big of an issue.  Why not contact your agent (hopefully, me) and find out if that home truly will hamper your sale and affect the final selling price?
  • Ok, you've tried the nice guy route and that bombed.  Bob is not a reasonable person.  Now what d
  • If your agent (hopefully, me) agrees that the neighbor's home is definitely going to be a problem for selling your home, then you should approach your neighbor in a very nice way and appeal to their sense of ownership/values for the neighborhood.  In other words, try saying something like, "Hi Bob.  How are you and the family?  I haven't seen much of you these days.  Hey, you know, I've been thinking about putting my home on the market and we're going to try to get as much as we can for it.  The more I sell for- the higher the values will be in our neighborhood and that'll work out great for you too when you decide to sell.  In order for me to get the highest selling price, my home has to look really good and my neighbor's homes also have to look their best.  Buyers look at the entire neighborhood before deciding on a home.  I know that you're not selling right now, but could you please pay more attention to mowing and trimming your lawn?"
  • One other approach is to let the neighbor think that you need to get every dime of value from the home because your home is your only investment.  So, you'll need to sell as high as possible in order to have money to replace the home.
  • Believe it or not, some people have no concept about aesthetics with a home and that owner may not have any idea that his home is an eyesore.  In that case you could say something like, "....You know Bob, your home and lot shows well but when you're selling or one of your neighbors are selling, it's really important that the home and lawn look their absolute best.  Do you mind if I make a suggestion on something really simple that you could do to make it look even better than it already does?"
  • And, as you might have already guessed, you can always offer to do the cleanup on your own or hire a company to do it for your neighbor.  That solution might be a little painful at first, but will definitely help with your sale.  So, this would be one more expense that you can add to the cost of sale that will help you in the long run.
  • One other idea is to plan a neighborhood clean up project for all of the neighbors and try to get the offending neighbor involved in it. See if everyone is willing to pay for a junk removal service for your street.  Just organizing this cleanup might be enough to get your neighbor motivated without the need to talk to him.
  • You can always shift the blame to your agent.  That might be enough to get the neighbor moving without implicating yourself.
  • Depending on where Bob's home is located, a higher fence may be enough to block the view of his home.  Or the right kind of vegetation.
  • Is it a vacant property?  Find out who owns it, do the research and then try to contact the owner- even it that's a bank that's in the process of foreclosing.  Hopefully, if it is a bank, they'll point you to who you need to talk to in order to get some relief.
  • Are there tenants in the home?  I'm sure the owner won't be happy to hear how they're treating it.
  • Now what do you do?  Many subdivisions have an HOA and/or Condo Association that have governing rules that apply to maintaining a property within that subdivision.  If there's no HOA or Condo Association that you can turn to, you might have to contact a local official and get them involved to see if anything can be done.  Most people will understand this dilemma and will do what they can to help you.

So, diplomacy will go a long way when dealing with this problem.  And, in case you're wondering, I don't believe that getting your neighbor to clean up is deceiving a perspective buyer.  We all do what we can to show our homes in the best light when selling and these suggestions are just one more way to help the sale.  Hey- and don't forget, you're moving and you won't have Bob as a neighbor!!!

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Harry F. D'Elia
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

I have witness a few of this situations when it comes to messy neighbors.

Aug 31, 2016 08:24 AM #1
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Been there and done that.   I had one seller that mowed the neighbors lawn so it would look good next to his.

Aug 31, 2016 08:26 AM #2
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