You can spruce up your home to perfection before you put it on the market, but problems on your neighbor’s property could still make selling your house difficult. Here are six ways your neighbor can sabotage your home sale, as well as some suggestions for resolving such situations.
Be a good neighbor yourself
Keep in mind that resolving any type of issue with your neighbors starts long before one arises. Take the time to get to know your neighbors from the start. This will build good relationships that you’ll enjoy in good times, and that will pay dividends when problems arise.
Also, remember that a neighbor’s property may be in bad shape because of a health or financial problem. Maybe you and other neighbors can pitch in and help.
Is there an HOA?
You may feel that homeowners associations (HOA) are overbearing, but your HOA can be your ally when a neighbor’s property is hurting your chances of resale. The HOA may be able to remedy many such problems by enforcing its rules. If the HOA hasn’t stepped up, first talk to your neighbor about the problem in a non-confrontational way. Then, if necessary, speak to the HOA about enforcing its standards.
Six ways your neighbor’s home can hurt your property sale
- Unkempt landscape. Overgrown grass, weedy flower beds and wild shrubbery can combine to make a property look like it belongs to Herman Munster. If the house next to yours needs some major landscaping, explain to your neighbor that you are listing your home for sale and tactfully ask if he can tame the mess. If he is unable to for health or financial reasons, offer to spend a Saturday doing the work for him. He may greatly appreciate the help.
- Peeling paint. Nothing ruins curb appeal like a house badly in need of fresh paint. Determine why the neighbor has let the condition decline. If he can’t repaint, perhaps you and some other neighbors can help with touch-ups or even hire a professional painter.
- Scary or noisy dog. A neighbor’s dog may seem threatening when people walk past his yard, but there’s not a lot you can do if the dog’s owner is complying with local leash and restraint laws. A boisterous dog may be violating local noise ordinances, so check with your local government to learn what the rules are. If your neighbor isn’t complying with them, talk to him and loop in other neighbors to persuade him to change his ways.
- Foreclosures and zombie houses. A neighborhood home that has been foreclosed upon and is now bank-owned may sit vacant for months without selling. If the yard is getting overgrown or the house is in visible disrepair, contact the bank that owns it and demand that the property be mowed and kept up. Get your community and the HOA to join you in the effort.
- Noisy neighbors. Loud music, loud cars, loud kids … if noise is a problem, ask other neighbors to join you in contacting the neighbor who’s the source of it. As a last resort, you can alert your local government about a possible violation of the noise ordinance.
- Sex offenders and other criminals. State sex offender registries disclose whether you have an offender living nearby. You will be powerless to do anything if potential buyers take the time to check this issue, but most won’t. States have laws regarding how close a sex offender can live to a school or daycare, so if the neighbor in question violates such a law, seek help from local law enforcement.