Living next to unpleasant neighbors can be tough – unsurprisingly, trying to sell a house while having them can be even more difficult. If you want to figure out how to sell a house with undesirable neighbors, you’ll have to start by identifying and solving what exactly your neighbor issues are.
Dealing with neighbor issues when selling a house
The first step in figuring out how to sell a house with bad neighbors is identifying some of the basic problems you have with them that might affect your sale. While there are as many different problems as there are bad neighbors, we’ll touch on a few of the big ones: these are the noisy neighbors, the messy neighbors, and angry neighbors – each of whom can put a real damper on your ability to sell your home.
The classic noisy neighbor can be a major annoyance in a person’s daily neighborhood life. This neighbor might work a totally different shift than most, or they might be trying to start a band. This could be a neighbor that parties all night or who gives accordion lessons all day, but they make it hard for anyone to come and look at your home without exposing them to their noise. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can try to minimize their impact.
If you’ve already attempted the fun conversation of asking the neighbor to keep it down without success, soundproofing will be your friend – and you might not need to do that much. A high-quality door and some solid curtains can actually reduce a great deal of noise, at least if the neighbor doesn’t share a wall. If the neighbor is too close (or far too loud), you’ll have to invest in more significant soundproofing of your walls, ceilings, and possibly even floor.
Messy neighbors come in a few varieties. There are the neighbors who never mow their lawn, those who let their home fall apart, and those who like to let junk pile up in the yard. There are also those who let their trash accumulate, who have wild landscaping, and even those who let problems build up until others force them to make a change. You might think that these neighbors would make your home look good by comparison, but they actually cast a shadow over the entire neighborhood.
The best solution here is to offer to help your neighbor clean up. Have a friendly chat if possible, offering to cover the costs of basic things like mowing the lawn or hauling away trash. If the situation is more severe (or if the neighbor isn’t responsive), you may need to put a call into code enforcement to get changes made.
You don’t have to be friends with your neighbors. These people, however, take things to an entirely different level. If you’re lucky, they just don’t like you – they might yell at you when you come outside or constantly blow you into the HOA every time you leave a trashcan in the wrong place. Worse are those neighbors who are constantly angry at everyone and who vent their anger at the world. They can make your attempt to sell your home collateral damage in whatever their displays of anger might be.
It’s important to remember that whoever you sell your home to is going to have to deal with this neighbor in their future. Perhaps it’ll be on a different scale; maybe there won’t be much of an issue at all. However, informing your potential buyer is the kindest thing you can do for them. Keep boundaries in place with the problem neighbor and do what you can to avoid exacerbating any issues that may arise with them.
How can you deal with neighbor issues?
Sometimes you won’t be able to control your environment enough to make the bad neighbors fade into the background. In these cases, you’re going to have to confront them about making a change. This doesn’t have to be a hostile act, but it may be something that makes you move out of your own comfort zone. Taking a little time to think about how the situation might need to be escalated is a good way to make a plan.
Talk to your neighbor
The first step is always the most personal. No matter what kind of problems your neighbor is causing, you owe it to them to try to work things out in person. Don’t go over to the neighbor’s home accusing them of making trouble or of being a bad neighbor- let them know that you’re trying to sell your home and that you could really use their help with specific problems.
Note that you should only talk to your neighbor if it is safe to do so. In some situations, talking will exacerbate the problem. If you think that your neighbor is a basically reasonable person who might not understand how his or her actions are impacting your home sale, having a quick chat may be the best way for you to solve your problems.
Talk to the HOA
If talking face-to-face doesn’t work, or if doing so is likely to cause more problems, your next step is to contact your Home Owners Association. Your HOA exists to do far more than just make you pay fees every month, and they may even offer certain types of conflict resolution systems. At the very least, though, you can let the HOA know that your neighbor might be in violation of certain codes.
This can be difficult to do if you have an inactive HOA, though. You will see the best results if you have an HOA that regularly meets and that actually enforces your neighborhood’s codes. Note that contacting the HOA won’t necessarily be helpful if you are experiencing a clash of personalities, as many HOAs are loathe to intervene when the bylaws aren’t actually being broken.
Talk to an attorney
If all else fails, you may need to take legal action. This can seem like an incredibly drastic step, and it certainly can be very expensive. It may, however, be the only legal way to solve your neighbor issues if they are unwilling to change their behavior.
In some cases, contacting a lawyer will help you to get an injunction against certain actions. In other cases, a lawyer might advise you to call the police or to bring a suit for damages. No matter what the advice, simply having a lawyer on your side will do a great deal to convince your neighbor that you are taking the situation seriously.
Having trouble selling your home?
There are many things that can make it hard to sell your home, from problematic neighbors to falling property values on your street. If you want to be successful, there’s only one clear path – you have to work with an agent who can help to sell your home. When you’re ready to get serious about putting your home on the market, make sure to contact us at Century21 Northwest and to take a look at our New Home Affordability Calculator.