Selling a house is stressful enough without having bad neighbors run off your buyers. If a buyer comes to look at your house, and next door, they see an overgrown lawn, hear yelling, or smell the dogs – you know, the ones that howl all night and dig up the fence, they may not finish the walkthrough. Bad neighbors can sour a house deal, lowering its value by 5% to 10%. Here are some steps you can take to improve the situation and sell a house with bad neighbors.
Some neighbors do not mean to be bad. If your neighbors are approachable, talk to them. Please do not come at them aggressively. Instead, mention you have buyers visiting the house and politely explain how their actions impact the sale. You can also use a professional mediator to handle these conversations and avoid confrontation.
Some neighbors are busy, and caring for their property falls to the wayside. It takes time and effort, but you can offer to help your neighbor with outward-facing home projects. Mow their lawn or lend a hand with home repairs. If their car is on cinderblocks, or they hoard things scattered in plain view, help move the car into the garage and move things inside or into storage.
Call the HOA
If your neighbor is unreasonable or aggressive, it could be time to take action. Homeowners’ associations tend to stay out of small disputes; however, most have a clause that says residents have a right to “quiet enjoyment” of their homes. Your HOA should enforce neighborhood codes, including telling neighbors to keep house, landscape, and keep down the noise.
Take Legal Action
If your HOA is inactive, and your neighbor seems hostile, notify the county or city of a “sabotaging neighbor.” You can claim nuisance. This means your neighbor unreasonably interferes with your property’s usage through loud music, debris, or other means. If you feel threatened, call law enforcement. Hire a lawyer to convince your neighbor you take the situation seriously and show you have a sound case against them. These are extreme actions and not often called for unless absolutely necessary.
You must let potential buyers know the situation with your neighbors. If they are loud, obnoxious, or there is another issue, you must disclose the truth to avoid legal trouble post-sale. Most real estate disclosures demand sellers warn buyers of problems of which the seller is aware.
If you want to avoid your neighbors and evade leery buyers, consider selling your home to an investor. Most investors will make a cash offer despite problems next door. You can enjoy a quick closing and move away from the people who give you so much trouble.