Nasty Neighbors Blocks Home Sale

One of the important affecting factors when selling a home are your neighbors. Even if you’ve kept the place in tip-top condition and the market is on your side, one bad apple can make selling a big struggle. If your neighbor’s yard always looks like they’re having a yard sale or a home featured in “Hoarders,” chances are their home is classified as a biohazard zone by the EPA. And according to Appraisal Institute, it can even drag down the value of your home by as much as 10%.

The best way you can resolve it doesn’t need to become legal. It could be a diplomatic conversation, a simple smile, and a little bit of crossing your fingers. But the worst part of a possible solution is to drop your asking price. Though once in a while, the law does have your back.

Here are three common types of awful neighbors and an advice for handling them.


The neighbor who wants your home

Problem: A neighbor eyeing your home for a possible expansion of their property.

Advice: You could sell your home to your neighbors, but the downside is if they ask for a neighborly discount or maybe turned you off with their odd behavior. What you need to do if you really don’t want to sell it to them is to sit down and have a frank conversation that they aren’t getting the house. If they continue to bother and frighten potential buyers, consult a lawyer about it. You can sue them with slander but expect to go on a bumpy road.


The neighbor with a bad attitude


Problem: A miserable neighbor to make you equally miserable. A possible nightmare.

Advice: Lawrence J. Buckfire, a lawyer in Southfield, MI, recommends working with other neighborhood residents to solve this issue. Maybe they are also willing to group together to approach them. But don’t forget, whatever you do, make sure to consult with your agent and attorney about what you need to disclose, most especially if you’re dealing with potentially criminal elements. This will depend on your state, and your Realtor should have more information on how to deal with the problem. If you fail to disclose anything like this with the new buyers and the neighbor continues to do terrible things to them, they might sue you for failure to disclose a defect.


The neighbor who trashes the neighborhood

crazy neighborhood

Problem: Even a good neighbor can be unorganized and junkie, a downright disaster.

Advice: This usually happens when you share a property division with your neighbor. Bruce Ailion, a Realtor® and attorney in Atlanta, GA, recalls a property he represented that shared a long driveway with a neighbor and made no effort to make the path look acceptable. Some offenses have been made, a flag pole with one of the largest Confederate flags, plus a no trespassing sign stating: “This home is protected by Smith & Wesson.”

It’s not legally objectionable though. If you have this kind of case with your neighbor, the best way is to take photos, document the situation, and get in touch with the municipal or local authorities.

Edward Smith of NewPoint Law Group in Roseville, CA says, “Unfortunately, most neighbor disputes are very difficult to remedy in our legal system. Most lawsuits involve payment of money damages for tangible harm. Most neighbor disputes are not about money, but trying to correct behavior.”

The Homeowners Association could also help you out with this kind of problem. Most especially if you’re dealing with a house filled with frat bros who loves to party 24/7, or something much worse, a drug den. You should definitely be talking with the neighbors and the association on how to clear it up. The association could also offer to mow the lawn, clean up debris, or take other necessary action under their by-laws according to Buckfire.

But if everything fails, unfortunately, the only answer to a bad neighbor is to drop the price of your property.


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