5 Neighbors Who Can Hurt Your Home Sale

by staff on June 6, 2011

Bad NeighborsIn the current economy, it’s really important for home Sellers to be able to maximize every advantage to entice buyers to their properties.  Sometimes many of the Seller’s efforts are inadvertently undermined by his neighbors.   We’re not talking about the kind of neighbors who are in legal trouble or who have strange personalities.  Instead we’re talking about smaller things that can make or break a Buyer’s good impression of a home for sale.

There are lots of opinions on this topic, but for simplicity…. here are our top 5 nominations (in no particular order) for Neighbors Who Can Hurt Your Home Sale.

1.  Junk and Yard Clutter.  Sometimes our Buyers ask for a showing on a property that has intrigued them from a website.  They just ‘know’ they’ll love it because they’ve fallen in love with the listing agent’s photos.  Reality sets in as we drive down the lane to the property, past old rusted cars, abandoned coops and kennels, dead appliances in the yard or on porches.  Even with great tools like Google Earth, it’s hard to predict how a neighborhood “feels” until you’ve been there. 

2.  Barking/Mean Dogs.  It’s heartbreaking to watch a Seller spend huge amounts of time spiffing his property for sale… only to have the constant barking (or threatening behavior) from neighborhood animals.  Sometimes a call to the local authorities can bring some improvement, but in other cases the animals just seem to have a radar for when they need to sound vicious or loud so they can discourage a Buyer’s opinion of the property.

 3.  Sex Offenders.  Regardless of where the property is,  someone on Megan’s List (the Registry of Sex Offenders in Virginia) can drive away a Buyer who does his homework.  According to the research in the link at the bottom of this article, just the presence of a sexual offender nearby can reduce the value of a home by approximately 9%  ….no matter how far in the past the offense may have been.

4.  Foreclosures and Closed Businesses.  Even at a good price, a home that’s in a neighborhood of abandoned shells of houses can be a turnoff.   Tall grass and weeds, bare windows, overgrown sidewalks and driveways… all have contributed to a general spooky feeling with some Buyers.  When their inevitable questions arise, we refer them to local law enforcement agencies who can give them actual facts and details of how the neighborhood is faring.

5.  Unpleasant Sounds.   Noise from nearby expressways, the hum of the electrical grid across the street, the neighbor’s son who’s about to become a famous drummer, a loud hot rod car or ATV, a chain saw…. all of these can discourage a Buyer who might otherwise love the particular property that brought him to the Seller.  Noise?Even if it may not be a recurring event, the initial impression can change a Buyer’s mind.   If you think it’s not possible, consider that all of the situations we mentioned, have resulted in our own clients’ decisions to look elsewhere for their property. 

Other people in different parts of the country have different ideas about this topic.  You can click here to read about other traits of bad neighbors.

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