Mean neighbors. Nobody wants to deal with them and almost everybody dreads it when they find out that they are surrounded by this type of neighbor.
Neighbor problems tend to have a big impact on not only the morale of homeowners but also what they consider important for the next house that they may want to buy. In this survey, 73% of people said that they disliked at least one of their neighbors.
If you are a home seller, you are probably going to be reluctant to give away a lot of information about bad neighbors. When it comes to legally dealing with bad neighbors, them being annoying is rarely enough to do anything. Of course, there are certain things that a seller’s real estate agent would have to disclose about a neighbor.
So, what does a real estate agent have to disclose? And what information should you reveal about your neighbors to a potential buyer?
This is your guide on how to deal with bad neighbors as a home seller.
The really bad neighbors
There are certain neighbors that you are just not going to be able to avoid getting around as a seller. Usually, these are the neighbors that get caught up in legal issues.
One of the biggest issues that can come up with a neighbor is if they are a registered sex offender. This is because, in the United States, sex offenders have to not only report where they are living but the whole neighborhood becomes aware of their presence.
That information is easily attainable from certain websites including an official registry, offender maps, and even certain apps.
Another example of a neighbor that is in trouble with the law is if they are involved in certain illegal activities. This can be anything from dealing drugs to stealing from other neighbors to even operating a meth lab from their own homes.
A potential buyer is likely to hear about a situation like the above, particularly if that person’s crime involved a house that was in the neighborhood.
If that happens to be the case with your neighbors, make it clear that the person is in jail if you know that they are not currently around and you get asked about it. If that neighbor is still in the picture, try to emphasize that they keep to themselves if that happens to be the case.
It can be tricky dealing with neighbors that have public legal records because it is much harder to dance around those issues. Unfortunately, the best you can do is diffuse any potential concerns and hope buyers are not scarred from those neighbors.
Property line neighbors
The next type of neighbor that you may deal with is one that shares a property line with you. You may be that home seller that has had lengthy battles with someone who either disrespects your property line or makes a big fuss over every little thing that you have over the property line.
Truthfully, both scenarios can be annoying to deal with from your neighbor but there is an easy solution to this.
You may be tempted to hide information from a buyer but there is a direct way of dealing with this. If the neighbor is the one that has a problem with you and the property line, talk to them before selling the home and try to fix any minor issues that came from this.
The issues can simply be a tree branch that is extending too far or putting your garbage bins partially on their property. If you can solve these quickly, you can eliminate that concern for the buyer and simply tell them where to place the garbage bins.
However, if the neighbor is the one disrespecting the property line, that can be a bit tricky. In that situation, try to gauge as best you can how the buyer feels about longer trees in the backyard and the amount of space they have between them and the next house.
After that, you can disclose what the official property line is and see their reaction to it. This may make the buyer see more possibilities with the home and they may be more willing to take legal action to use every inch of their assigned property.
The loud neighbors
Next, you may be facing neighbors that are on the louder side. These can be the types that blast their music through open windows, sit on their front porches late at night and scream, or those who have regular parties.
Now, this does not have to be a bad thing. One tip as a seller here is to try and see what types of people the buyers are like. It is very possible that they are the partying type and they may not mind walking down the block to drink with new friends.
However, you may run into families that are light sleepers. This can cause problems for kids trying to sleep on a school night or parents that are trying to get a good night’s sleep before going to work early the next morning.
If you run into the latter, there are a few things that you can do to try to navigate this situation. The first thing that you can do is to try and limit their exposure to day visits and perhaps introduce buyers to the neighbors while everyone is a little quieter and laid back.
The second thing that you can do is address the situation head-on. You can give buyers a little heads up that certain neighbors can get a little loud at night.
With these bad neighbors, what to do legally? The answer is to call the police about a noise complaint. If this happens often enough, it should likely get those neighbors to back off and comply with the noise regulations.
Using a Homeowner’s Association
To truly neutralize a bad neighbor, one of the strongest things that you can have on your side is a Homeowner’s Association. In the United States, over 370,000 neighborhoods have them. Considering that there are only 50 states in the country, this means that the odds of you having one are pretty good.
Those that are unfamiliar with this group are probably wondering what they do. Well, this is the group that is in charge of coming up with rules that everyone in their jurisdiction has to follow.
Some of these rules can be minor things such as keeping up with lawn maintenance or making sure that garbage bins are collected within 24 hours. Other rules can be simply keeping up with dues that way the group can continue to offer certain services for houses in the neighborhood.
Telling a buyer that there is a Homeowner’s Association in that neighborhood can be a great way to put their fears in check of a potentially bad neighbor. Also, they may have seen a neighbor of yours that made them concerned before finding out about said group.
A Homeowner’s Association tends to hold every homeowner in it accountable and it can be the perfect driving force to drive a bad neighbor away.
Talk to the neighbors
Finally, perhaps the simplest advice for dealing with bad neighbors is to simply talk to them. There may be something that you find annoying about a certain neighbor that a buyer could not care less about.
Even better, a buyer may be willing to overlook a bad habit that a neighbor has if they get along as a person. This can be a great way to sell a buyer not only your home but the neighborhood.
In this day and age, more and more neighborhoods are becoming strangers living next to each other rather than a true community. You or the buyer reaching out to certain neighbors can make them feel more connected to not only the neighborhood but their fellow neighbors as well.
If a neighbor feels that connection, they are more likely to care about actions that impact the neighborhood and concerns of the community as well. Therefore, they would be more likely to listen to you if you brought up a concern about their behavior.
Sell your home with mean neighbors
You are likely going to deal with a large variety of mean neighbors. Some may be out of your control such as ones in the legal system while others like loud neighbors or ones on your property line may be more manageable. Try to get a Homeowner’s Association going or if that is not possible, try to have more open communication.
Do you want to get an idea of what houses in your neighborhood are worth? Use our home valuation tool today to get started.