How many TV shows have you seen which tell you how to improve the value of your own home? How to paint it, how to set the garden, what furniture to use, and so on. Little fixes adding thousands here and there. How many articles have you read on the same subject? All of these things are within your control, but some elements are not. Now, we all know that the same size house in a good neighborhood is worth a lot more than the equivalent in a bad one. It’s common sense. The effects can be major. For example, even having a foreclosed property can cut the value of your home by 1.3%, and that could be a perfectly good, tidy house. But even within that, having one neighbor with overflowing rubbish, a messy yard or garden, waste material, or junk everywhere, will bring down the value of all the houses in the vicinity. That includes nextdoor neighbors, houses backing onto their property, those across the road and so on. In short, while we all want good neighbors, if we’re trying to sell our homes, we really really want good neighbors.
The Neighborhood Effect on House Prices
There are several ways you can bring down the value of your own home and these include, but are not limited to:
- Wrong kinds of windows, roofing, guttering and so on.
- Being near bars, clubs, or wind farms
- Bad schools
- Natural disaster risks
Appraisers will take one look at their overflowing waste, rusting heaps, and uncollected trash and will cut the value of YOUR house by 15% according to the Appraisal Institute. The New York Times estimates that even overgrowing grass and bad odors can knock 5 to 10% off a home’s value. All is not lost, however.
How to Resolve the Conflict
Known as ‘external obsolescence,’ within the industry, bad neighbors are one of the first things an appraiser will notice before they even get to your home. So, if you are thinking of selling your home in the near future, you should consider what to do about the problem neighbor. Luckily for you, this issue is not one to be dealt with alone, as it is a mutual problem for the entire area for at least a dozen houses in both directions, across the road, and backing onto their property.
First, try to talk to your neighbors directly. This might be less threatening if done by yourself or as a couple. Many messy neighbors are good people, nice, but might have problems physical, mental or organizational, which stops them having a clean home. It is possible to work out a solution with them to get the problem fixed.
You may be able to help your neighbor with the problem such as mowing the lawn, lending equipment, and working with other neighbors if they cannot do it themselves. Everyone benefits and new friends are made.
It is possible to work together to cut the cost of hiring firms to pick up waste and to detoxify any contaminated land or water sources.
If the neighbor is not cooperative at all and there’s no good reason for the place to be so messy, you can call the local Health Department. Being a health hazard, they may get involved right away, taking legal action against the neighbor and possibly enforcing either eviction from the land or a clean up.
It is also possible to call local elected officials. They want happy voters and if it falls under their jurisdiction they can act directly. If not, they know the levers of power and who to influence to get a good outcome for you and your neighbors.