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What to Do about the House Next Door

Jun 28, 2008
When it comes time to sell a home, curb appeal can be tremendously important. From the start, your home needs to make a solid first impression that will carry the future home buyer into the house on a positive note. Even if your home looks wonderful, however, your neighbors house and the surrounding community can play a role in curb appeal. No matter how much fresh paint or new landscaping dots your front lawn, you will need to worry about your future buyers seeing the eyesore next door.

Eyesores are a common problem. Studies have shown that more than 60% of all homeowners think they have a neighbor that is making their street look bad by not taking care of their home fronts. Roughly 20% of these individuals even claim that they are the cause of the problem! Life can be busy and things like tall weeds and grass, dying lawns, junk in the lawn or peeling paint can be projects that are pushed from one weekend to the next, until the home is an official eyesore.

The crumbling house next door might be something to avoid when you live in your home, but when you are trying to sell, that eyesore now becomes a liability to you. Especially in buyer driven real estate markets, the eyesore next door can translate into lost revenue for you. They will become yet another negotiating tactic for the appraiser and the future home buyer.

How much can you stand to lose from living next to an eyesore? Some calculations go as high as 10% off the value of the home. Of course, different markets will see a different percentage taken off, but all in all, the eyesore is a poor value assessment for your property. What is a homeowner to do?

There are two types of people that have homes that are in disrepair. The first type cannot physically or financially afford to maintain their home and the second are those who are ignoring the common courtesy and trend of maintaining a home. If the home is rented out, you can try contacting the owner well in advance of putting your home on the market. In addition, you can build a group effort that will allow homeowners with limited funds the ability to apply for funds to keep up the exterior of the home.

There are laws that will prohibit certain behavior that can help you address the issues your eyesore has created. For example, there are certain municipal codes that will not allow you to stockpile wood on your property for fear of attracting animals.

However, the smartest move can be to raise your asking price above what you had originally planned. That way, you can negotiate down due to the eyesore next door, but still come out on top with the price that you had initially aimed for. Just a little upkeep can significantly improve the outer appearance of any home, but dealing with an eyesore can be an important part of your home price negotiations when selling your home.
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