7 Ways Neighbors Can Sabotage Your Home Sale

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You’ve decided to put your home on the market and have done everything in your power to make it as attractive as possible. But there’s one thing that’s beyond your control: the neighbors.

Whether they’re messy, loud, or just plain ruthless, their behavior can work against you when it comes time to sell. In fact, Appraisal Institute President Richard L. Borges II said he’s seen external factors, such as living beside bad neighbors, decrease home values by more than 5 to 10 percent. So, not only do they have the power to ruin your chances of making a sale, they can lower your property’s value.

The following are ways neighbors either purposely or inadvertently sabotage a home sale.

1. They’re noisy


From barking dogs to garage bands, if visitors find themselves covering their ears the moment they get out of the car, they’re probably not going to want to live there.

2. They’re junk collectors


Sure, it’s great to have a handy neighbor or even one who fancies himself an amateur mechanic. But when the yard is littered with tools and automotive supplies, it can give your block a junkyard feel, which drastically diminishes your curb appeal. Speaking of outdoor attractiveness…

3. They ignore the landscaping


Overgrown grass, dead shrubs, and weeds galore detract from not only your neighbor’s home but yours as well. If you’ve tried talking to your neighbor and your concerns have gone unheeded, look into your local department of code enforcement, environmental management, or zoning as they may be violating local ordinances.

4. They let it all hang out


While almost everyone can appreciate the desire to conserve energy and save a buck, leaving one’s unmentionables out on a clothesline from one end of the day to the next does nothing to enhance the scenery.

5. They allow pets to run wild


Even if your neighbor doesn’t have a dog that howls at the moon or barks ferociously without the slightest provocation, letting pets run amuck is a big turn-off. For real estate author Jeffrey Roark, the strangest thing he ever experienced during an open house occurred when the next door neighbors let their pet pig out for a romp.

“Not a pot belly pig, but a large, regular sized pig,” he explained. “People looking at the pool in the backyard of the open house could hear the thing snorting and groveling on the other side of the fence. This wasn’t in a residential area – it was in a regular, city subdivision!”

6. They badmouth the house


This one takes a lot of nerve, but some neighbors have been known to disparage the home or even the area to try to stop a potential sale. One Realtor®, representing a bank-owned property, shared that he once had a neighbor attempt to keep would-be buyers at bay so his mother-in-law could get the place for a lower price.

“He had a perch where he would see when someone came into the property,” the Realtor® explained. “He would go out greet the people, on the way in or out, tell them the home belonged to drug dealers and unsavory people were stopping by all hours of the day and night. That scared off many a buyer, but eventually it sold to someone else for more than his mother-in-law was willing to pay.”

7. They’re gone


Just because no one is living there, that doesn’t mean your neighbor troubles are over. Though foreclosures aren’t uncommon, they’re bad news for nearby homes. Across the country, foreclosures are responsible for an average $7,200 price decline for every nearby home, according to the Center of Responsible Lending. Homeowners living within 300 feet of a foreclosed residential property aren’t immune either. They’ve experienced a 1.3 percent decline in home value — while those 300 to 500 feet away see a drop of 0.6 percent.

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