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selling with neighbours from hell

Can’t sell because of your neighbours? When your neighbours don’t exactly, how can we put it, merit the sale value of your home, what can you do about it? 

Their front yard has adopted some kind of jungle theme. Flat tires and random car parts lie rusting in the weeds. You can’t see inside the windows through the grime. And blinds… what are those? Yet your neighbours don't seem to care. In fact, you haven't seen them in months - are they even alive? 

You're right to be concerned. Neighbours count when it comes to selling property. According to The Appraisal Institute (the largest association of real estate appraisers in the US), bad neighbours can significantly reduce nearby property values. So, it doesn’t matter how pristine your own house is if the property next door looks like a rundown brothel. But, what can you do about it? Here’s what we recommend:

Diplomacy evades dispute 

In the words of Richard M. Nixon, “Let us move from the era of confrontation to the era of negotiation.” 

Marching next door and grabbing your neighbour by the throat will only weaken your negotiating power. You want to approach wisely, with humility (and perhaps a six-pack or bottle of wine) Your neighbours are more likely to cooperate if you take the friendly approach and explain your dilemma with diplomacy.

A little heart goes a long way 

Sometimes, there’s a reason why a property becomes neglected. Your neighbour may not be coping too well because of personal circumstances. In times like these, we have to show some compassion - and it’s far easier offering help than it is asking for it. Perhaps you could lend a hand with gardening? Offer to remove any unwanted junk? It’s a subtle way of helping your neighbour clean up their property (which will only help the sale of your own home).

You may need to compromise

Your neighbour may not be willing to upgrade their property to display home standards, but they might agree to turn their music down during open inspections or keep their yapping dog inside. If you can eliminate half the problem, it will still improve the sale potential of your home. 

When all else fails

You’ve used all the diplomacy of president Obama, but your neighbour refuses to cooperate. Unfortunately, there are now only a few options available to you -

1. Drop the value of your house (if it’s struggling to sell). Sometimes it’s better to count your blessings and move on.

2. Delay putting your house on the market and pray your neighbours will be swept away by a random tornado.

3. Call in the reinforcements. Depending on your situation, there are a few authorities you can turn to for help. Your local council will be able to tell you what policies they have in place for dealing with difficult neighbours. Most states also have dispute resolution centres to help you understand the laws and regulations to manage your dispute. 

As the late Carrie Fisher once said…

Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing.”

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