Selling A House With An Awful neighbor – Where To Start?
You’ve made a big decision to sell your house. You’ve spent the time cleaning up your house, consulting agents, making minor repairs, and planning for your next house and future. But you have one problem. The neighbor next door is going to make what is already a stressful situation even more stressful! Selling your house is a big task that creates an emotional toll on you and having a bad neighbor makes these emotions even more volatile. So, what are the best steps to take when you need to sell your house and you are worried about the neighbors having an impact on the success of your sale?
What Type Of Neighbor Do You Have?
In order for you to come up with a plan, you need to figure out what type of “bad” neighbor you have. Below are the four most common neighbors that can disrupt a home sale.
The Messy Neighbor
Junk cars, overgrown lawn, kids toys laying everywhere, garbage galore. This is the type of neighbor many people have to deal with and it’s the most common.
The Noisy Neighbor
This neighbor loves their parties or they have a fenced in back yard where they keep their dogs tied up 24/7. The noisy neighbor makes sleep and relaxation extremely difficult.
The Rude/Nosey Neighbor
This type of neighbor is the one that is always making comments and is not very friendly. Being Nosey also falls into this category because being rude typically goes hand in hand with being nosey.
The Law Breaker
This is the type of neighbor that deals in illegal activity. This activity can include, but is not limited to, drug use or selling, illegal gambling, or any other type of illegal activity.
How To Sell Your House With A Messy Neighbor
The first thing you need to consider is what type of mess they have and also consider what type of relationship you have with this neighbor. If they simply have an overgrown lawn or toys laying everywhere, this is a simple fix! If you have lived in the neighborhood for a long time, you more than likely know this neighbor on a somewhat personal level.
First, put yourselves in their shoes. Is this an elderly person? Perhaps they may have a difficult time maintaining their lawn or they struggle with physically being able to clean up the property. Next, you could potentially have a single parent that works multiple jobs. If this is the case, it’s possible they just don’t have the energy to clean up their kid’s toys every day. Once you gain somewhat of an understanding about what type of situation your neighbor is in, this may help put a plan in place.
Consider offering to help your neighbor before you list your house. Keep in mind that you need to show compassion to them. You will get the best result if you actually show that you care about helping them. If you approach them with the belief that you are only helping them because you want to sell your house, they may take offense to this stance and ruin the situation. If the yard is overgrown, offer to either mow it for them, or state that the person mowing your lawn is willing to take on a neighbors free of charge. The key is to not make it seem like they will “owe” anyone for this generosity. Creating the feeling that you are there to help and not one that requires the homeowner to provide something in return will provide the chance of a higher success rate.
If your neighbor has multiple junk cars in their yard, this could pose a more difficult scenario to resolve. Check with your county or city codes. Many county and cities do not allow for this type of thing to occur, especially when it comes to junk cars. If you find that your neighbor is violating codes, report them to the proper division within your county or city. Unfortunately, this process tends to take a considerable amount of time and may not be worth the time and effort involved, but it’s certainly worth a shot! You can also let any potential buyer know that the proper authorities are working to resolve this issue.
How To Sell Your House With A Noisy Neighbor
If your neighbor likes to play loud music or has a noisy dog, you have two great options at your disposal. If the problem is loud music, try to plan your open houses and showings around the times that are not overly noisy. For example, if your neighbors tend to throw extravagant parties on Saturdays, it wouldn’t be advisable to host an open house, or allow your home to be shown during this time. You could also simply ask the neighbor to please keep the noise down a bit during planned showings. Again, this largely depends on the type of relationship you have with said neighbor. If you have a sour relationship, it would be best to just plan showings around times that usually not that noisy.
Many neighbors have dogs that are fenced in during the day that like to bark. Some have dogs outside that bark permanently. If you have a somewhat decent relationship with this neighbor, approach them about possibly allowing their dog inside, or keeping their dog busy during this time. As long as you come across as helpful and not demanding, you will more than likely have success with reaching a resolution. One example would be to offer to walk the dog in the neighborhood, or walk the dog in a local park. People love it when they think you love their pets! By offering to spend time with their animal yourself, it could help your neighbor feel more comfortable about your concerns. Only consider the approach of walking the dog if it is not a threat to harm you or anyone else.
How To Sell Your House With A Rude And Nosey Neighbor
Almost everyone has had an experience with a rude neighbor, a nosey neighbor, or both! Whether it is a neighbor that is constantly showing up at your house to complain about your yard not being mowed, or the neighbor who never waves back, we have all experienced this type of behavior in at least one neighbor. One strategy that works best in this case is to simply talk to them. Instead of making it seem like you are concerned with their actions, thank them instead! Yes, I said thank them! Explain to them how you have loved living in this neighborhood, and that you are sad to go, mainly because you have loved your neighbors! Thank them for being a great neighbor and for always “keeping an eye on things.” I’m serious, talk them up. People love to be talked up. It’s human nature. Let them know that you are showing your home to people who would make excellent additions to the neighborhood. Most of the time, the rude neighbor will appreciate this approach and make no attempt at being a threat to anyone viewing your home. After all, you did just tell them they were a great neighbor!
How To Sell Your House With A Law Breaking Neighbor
This one is tricky. I never advise anyone to directly deal with anyone that is involved in illegal activity. For this resolution, you need to consult the proper authorities. Visit or contact your local police department and give them the details of what is going on. Most of the time, they will act swiftly to remediate this problem, but it can take a while. In this case, it is best to let your potential buyer know exactly what is going on and explain to them the steps you have taken to resolve the issue.
Other Key Things To Consider When Selling Your House With A Bad Neighbor
Home Owner Associations (HOA)
If your home is part of an HOA, they may help fix or resolve all of the issues noted above. HOAs usually have strict rules for maintaining your property and being a good neighbor. If you are part of an HOA, consult the board about your concerns.
County And City Codes
Many city and county districts have neighborhood codes or “laws” that are not widely known. You can always consult your local district and ask them if your neighbor is violating any of these. If they are, the county or city may be willing to take action against them and alleviate you from being the “bad guy”
Real Estate Property Disclosure Laws
States have different laws when it comes to property disclosure laws. In short, a property disclosure document is supposed to provide details about a property’s condition that might negatively affect its value. Your area could have laws that require you to disclose any issue regarding a neighbor as well. You need to consider this importantly because you run the risk of being sued if you knowingly and willfully fail to disclose something. This type of advice needs to come directly from a licensed real estate professional with knowledge of your area, or a licensed attorney.
Alternate Options When Selling With Bad Neighbors
If your home is still not selling due to your neighbor, you do have the option of either hiring an attorney, or convincing the neighbor to sell their house to you. Both of these options do require that you have the financial resources to execute them, but both can pay large dividends if you they go in your favor!
Hire An Attorney
Unfortunately, in some cases, hiring an attorney may be your best option. This is usually advisable when your communication with the neighbor has reached a level that is not amicable. Many states have what is known as a law of nuisance. This is where if you truly believe that your neighbor interferes with your true enjoyment of the property, you may have a legal case. This can involve anything from loud noises, barking dogs, and anything in between. Keep in mind that attorneys are expensive! You need to make the most of your consultation to make sure that you have a great case.
Buy The Neighbor’s House
This may sound crazy, but have you considered buying your neighbor’s house? Lets consider this example like the one above. Your neighbor is elderly and has a very hard time trying keep up with her property. The yard is overgrown, there’s evidence of significant damage due to failed upkeep, and the house looks awful overall. You could provide a way out for this homeowner. It’s possible that the homeowner wants to downsize into something more manageable, but is scared to take on the task of selling their house. Not only is this a way for you to resolve the problem with selling your house, it’s a way to make more money for yourself. If you have the financial resources, there are several success stories about people buying houses that are run down and turning them into beautiful homes for nice profits!
You know you need to sell your house in the next 18 months. Your neighbors house looks awful due to the failed maintenance and upkeep and it’s dragging the value of your home down. It also just so happens to be the only house on your street that looks this way. The rest are in excellent condition. You approach the homeowner and they are willing to sell you the house at a great deal because they simply don’t have the capacity to care for it anymore. You spend the money to remodel the home and make it into something gorgeous! Now that home is worth a lot more money and now yours is too. So you sell them both, and profit off of both! It’s a win-win.
Sell To A Professional Home Buyer
In some cases, you have no time to wait or deal with the neighbors next door. If you need to move as soon as possible due to a job change, struggling financially, or any other reason; it could be best to simply move on. If you decide to sell to a local home buyer, do your due diligence in making sure you are working with someone that is reputable. Many companies create a false sense of hope. We have constructed an article that will help you find a legitimate home buyer for your house.
Final Thoughts On Selling A House With Bad Neighbors
Selling your house is stressful when everything goes perfectly fine. Throw some bad neighbors into the mix and you are left with even more stress to deal with. The above tactics are great tools to consider if you are attempting to sell your house and have awful neighbors to deal with. Bad neighbors can hold your home sale hostage! Although these are excellent resources to try, your safety should be your number one priority. Never put yourself in a harmful situation. Next, always consult an attorney regarding any laws that may be broken as well. Selling your home with difficult neighbors is a task that no one should have to endure, but thankfully, you have plenty of options at your disposal to help you make selling your home a success!
*These articles are not a substitute for legal advice. All real estate transactions should be reviewed by an attorney that is knowledgeable about the laws and rules of your state.