9 Ways Your Neighbors Can Screw Up Your Home Sale

If you’ve ever been on the hunt for that perfect piece of real estate, you know that decisions aren’t made by checklists alone. Sure, factors like location, square footage, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms form the basis of any buyer's search, but there are plenty of less obvious things that can make or break a sale. In fact, house hunters may sense whether or not they'll be making an offer as soon as they drive down your street and take a look around the neighborhood. The lesson here? Even if your home is in perfect condition, your neighbors could cause your home sale to go south. Here, we share 9 ways your neighbors can hurt the value of your home, if you let them.

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  1. Into the Wild


    Despite the old saying, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. When what lies on the other side of yours is an overgrown wilderness of dead brush, debris, and bric-a-brac, prospective home buyers may prefer to look elsewhere. 

    Related: The Invincible Yard: 17 Ideas for Lazy Landscaping


  2. Another One Bites the Dust


    A foreclosure in the neighborhood is the kiss of death for other homes on the market. While a foreclosed house next door may not deter first-time buyers looking for a starter home, more discerning shoppers may see it as a sign of a bad neighborhood and keep on driving right past your open house.

    Related: Rehabbing a Foreclosure? Spend This Much


  3. Pump Up the Volume


    Loud noises in the neighborhood can be another deterrent to house hunters scoping out your place. Whether the teenagers next door are arguing with abandon or loud music is thumping across the street as visitors approach your front door, all that racket can destroy the peaceful sense of welcome you're trying to convey to a prospective buyer.

    Related: Selling Your House? Help Your Neighbors Help You


  4. Where There's Smoke


    Like it or not, something as simple as a next-door neighbor who smokes can turn prospects off in a heartbeat. That’s because secondhand smoke can snake through open windows, fouling indoor air and surfaces, where it's hard to displace. 

    Related: 7 Super Simple Ways to Make Your House Smell Fresh


  5. Doggone It!


    Particularly for parents with young kids, an unfriendly dog (or any dog) next door or on the loose can be a deal-breaker. Safety is often a top priority for families in search of a house, so it’s important for neighborhood pups to stay in their yards or on their leashes.

    Related: How To: Create a Pet-Friendly Home


  6. Breaking the Rules


    If you live in a subdivision that requires residents to abide by a list of rules and regulations, any rebellious neighbors who are in clear violation of the rules could cause you grief. Buyers who value a clean suburban aesthetic and the benefits of a homeowners association might note the difference between the rules and the reality (cars parked in the street, for instance) and ask their real estate agents to take them elsewhere.

    Related: 3 Ways Your Neighbors Affect Your Home’s Value


  7. Proceed with Caution


    Homes located within one-tenth of a mile of a registered sex offender can suffer up to a 10 percent decrease in property value and take 10 percent longer to sell, simply based on their proximity. While there’s not much you can do about this, knowing who's close by and how their presence could affect your sale may help you set more realistic expectations.

    Related: Sell High: Top 7 Value-Boosting Home Renovations


  8. Just Like New


    While most homeowners know that a fresh exterior paint job can really amp up a home's curb appeal, it seems that every neighborhood has that one house that hasn’t seen a fresh coat in decades. If the eyesore happens to be one of your immediate neighbors, buyers may think twice before making an offer. Consider leaving your favorite housepainter’s business card in your neighbor's door—it might inspire him to take action.

    Related: 7 No-Fail Exterior Paint Colors


  9. Out in the Open


    While it’s fun to have big toys like boats, campers, and all-terrain vehicles, it’s not quite so fun to see them junking up driveways along the street all year long. If buyers observe lots of “weekend” vehicles sitting out in the open instead of being stored in a garage, shed, or other more private location, your home can lose several points in the aesthetics department—enough to make prospective buyers give it a pass.

    Related: 10 Space-Saving Ideas to Steal from Houseboats


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Buying & Selling Homes


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