When selling your home, you can make sure the property looks perfect both inside and out, and still lose out on buyers because of bad neighbors. You are not just selling your home, you are selling the neighborhood too. A huge problem arises if your potential buyers do not like what they see beyond your property line. So, what can you do when your neighbors are making it impossible to sell your home?
Most neighbors do not necessarily mean to be bad, they might have the annoying kid, barking dogs, loud radios, or habit of arguing loudly. However, there are some kinds of neighbors that can cause problems with your home sale. Here are some examples of common types of bad neighbors and suggestions for handling them.
Not everyone cares about how their yard looks, and if your neighbor never mows and their yard looks like a jungle, or they let everything die and you live next door to a dystopian wasteland. Keep in mind that they might not have let their yard fall into disrepair by choice, there may be something going on with them personally that is impacting their ability to keep up on their yard work. Before you try any other options, try to talk to your neighbor about the issue and ask them if they can start keeping up on their yard work again.
If they are unable or unwilling to do it, you can either hire someone to do it, like one of the kids in the neighborhood or do it yourself until your home sells. You may not want to put that much time and money into your neighbor's yard, but in doing so you may be helping your home sell for more.
Many cities have guidelines for grass and debris, so if the neighbor is simply unreasonable and will not let you help with the work, you may be able to have the city demand they clean it up. You may also be able to do this through your HOA if your neighborhood has one.
These neighbors come in many shapes and sizes. They may have loud children, dogs constantly barking, loud arguments, or construction projects. If you have one of these neighbors, the best approach is to try to have a chat with them before an open house. Try not to approach them in an aggressive way, or when the noises you are complaining about are occurring. Simply ask them calmly if they can try to keep whatever the noises are down during your open house, so they do not scare away prospective buyers.
The neighbor who has turned their yard into a junkyard, with broken down cars all over the lawn and various debris strewn about is not something people want to live next to. Worse yet, they might cause your property value to go down. You can try talking to the neighbor, but unlike the jungle neighbor, this is not often something you can get resolved by simply asking them nicely, though that should be the first thing you try.
Most likely, you will need to talk to your HOA or the city itself to compel your neighbor to clean up their yard.
The Jealous Neighbor
Sometimes your neighbor really wants to by your house, and they give you a lowball offer, expecting you to do the "neighborly thing" and take it. When this does not work, they get mad and may try to sabotage your attempts to sell to other buyers. The neighbor may show up when a buyer comes to look at the house, and eagerly tells them all the negative things about the neighborhood and your property. Sometimes, they will even lie outright and make claims that you have a meth lab in the basement, or you are a drug addict or dealer. They may support that lie with claims that there are people coming in at all hours of the night.
You can choose to sell the home to your neighbors just so you can be done with them, or you can sit down with them and tell them simply that you will not sell them the house. If they continue scaring away your prospective buyers, you may want to consult an attorney to have them write a letter encouraging them to back off. In an extreme case, you can probably file a slander lawsuit, but that may be difficult to prove.
These are just a few of the types of bad neighbors you may have that can impede your ability to sell your home. You have a few options when a bad neighbor makes selling your home difficult, but keep in mind that every situation is different and what works for one neighbor may not work for another.
Todd Wilkinson is the Founder and Owner of FonHome Realty. FonHome is a customer-centric brokerage where our clients are in control and our experienced agents are respected for providing the positive and exciting experience the real estate transaction should be. Todd is an accomplished real estate investor with an undergraduate degree in Financial Economics and a Masters’s degree in Business Administration. Todd has held senior management and executive-level positions with the world’s two largest retailers and a successful startup venture. Todd has served terms on the University of Arkansas Advisory Board and is actively involved with the St. Theresa School in Kenilworth. Todd opened his own brokerage after feeling underserved in his personal experiences with real estate transactions and wanted a firm whose mission was on serving the fiduciary responsibilities guaranteed to the Buyer and Seller. Contact Todd today for a free Comparable Market Analysis for your home or for advice on beginning your search for a new home at www.fonhomerealty.com.