As a real estate agent selling Windsor houses for over 20 years, I have had countless of clients come to me eager to sell their property. The problem? They have the neighbour from hell. There are so many types of bad neighbours, but the issue is, they don’t make our job any easier. Our clients are frustrated, stressed, wondering if they will have to take a hit on the price of their otherwise immaculate home because of their lousy neighbours. All in all, it’s not ideal.
Here are just a few classic examples that define a bad neighbour. Maybe you can top these?
1. The Eyesore:
This is where the neighbours have a junk yard for landscape decorations. Weeds, bad paint job, cars parked everywhere and dogs on leashes make this an eyesore that causes potential buyers to keep driving.
2. Loud Neighbours:
Whether you live in a condo or home, the loud neighbours are the ones that throw a party for any reason. They have lawn chairs outside and love to sit, play music and talk up a storm. They do this nightly during the summer months. With condos, they love to blast their music, slam doors and stomp all over the place.
3. Stickler Neighbour:
This is the one that doesn’t bend or compromise and lets you know that your trash cans are out too early, that your tree is crossing into his property line, or basically have every city code memorized. They love seeing what you will do wrong next.
Of course, there are other examples we could give, but you get the point. The problem is, how do you sell a home or condo when your neighbours are making your life miserable? Who wants to live next to a junk yard, a constant party or a neighbour that doesn’t hesitate to contact authorities if your car is parked funny?
The problem is: bad neighbours don’t really care that they are bad neighbours. Even if you try to talk to them, chances are, they are not going to change. They will either laugh, ignore you, or better yet, tell you what you can do with your unwanted comments.
But bad neighbours make it difficult to sell your home. And again, when you have a home that is properly maintained and in a nice area, it’s frustrating to think you may have to lower the price of your home because of their lousy habits. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Wave the white flag:
What this means, is approach your neighbours in a polite way and explain to them that you are in the process of selling your home. Ask them if it would be possible to tidy up their yard or keep their parties at a dull roar while you are showing your property. Simply approaching your neighbours in a friendly manner can speak volumes. Sometimes, you find that there are reasons a home looks like a junk yard. Perhaps the owner has been laid off, or they are elderly. If all else fails, you may want to help them or pay for someone to mow their grass and fix it up. Again, it’s difficult to part with money when trying to sell a house, but perhaps in the long run, it would be a good investment.
2. Is the home a rental?
Is the party next door hosted by renters? What about the eyesore? If so, contact the owner. Let them know their bad tenants are creating problems in the neighbourhood. If the owner lives elsewhere, perhaps your real estate agent can help you locate them. Send them a letter, include photos and request that they handle the matter. If you have other neighbours that feel the same way you do, ask that they send a letter as well or sign yours.
3. If foreclosure:
If the property next to you is a foreclosure, then you can contact the lender and ask them to clean it up. Complain loudly, but professionally to the highest person on the food chain as the squeaky wheel often gets the oil.
If you have tried literally everything, then at least make sure the eyesore and party neighbours properties are not seen or easily heard by putting up a fence or hedge if allowed. Do everything you can to make your property look fantastic, inside and out and bottom line, price your home realistically. One client, who had a neighbour that put trucks up on blocks and had toys scattered everywhere, was able to sell their home because they made their own house look so good. It was priced well, professionally staged, painted, repair free and in a good neighbourhood. For some buyers, they can ignore the bad neighbour if the house they are looking at is to wonderful to pass up.