How to Deal With Bad Neighbors When Selling a Home

How to Deal With Bad Neighbors When Selling a HomeSelling your home can be challenging, even in the best circumstances. There is just a lot of work involved in selling. So even if you do everything properly and a buyer arrives on your doorstep the first day the for sale sign goes on the lawn that doesn’t mean the whole process will be stress free. In real estate sales there are numerous obstacles along the way that sellers need to overcome.

It could be the home inspection, the buyers financing, the actual move or any other number of things. Sometimes the process of selling your place can be made worse by outside parties – particularly neighbors. When someone is considering buying your home, they are essentially investing in a neighborhood. And bad neighbors can make a neighborhood look much less appealing. This is why it can become important to know how to deal with bad neighbors when selling a home!

It is important to be realistic when trying to deal with problem neighbors during a sale. There are only so many things you can do – within legal guidelines – to alter another persons behavior. Fortunately you do have some options. Take a look at some of the best tips for dealing with a troubling next door neighbor and the issues they may present.

Ways to Deal With Problem Neighbors in a Sale

Overgrown lawn – If your neighbor just isn’t into yard work, he or she may have quite the jungle next door. In many cities there are guidelines for taking care of grass and debris in a neighborhood. You may be able to just call the city and have them demand a cleanup. But if this is not an option, you can always go have a talk with the neighbor.

Offer to help him or her cut the grass and keep things tidy until you can get the house sold. If things are really bad and your neighbor is strapped for cash it may be prudent for you to bite the bullet and offer to pay to have a professional come and take care of the yard. You may even consider doing it yourself as a neighborly gesture. While it is certainly not your responsibility to do so in the long run it could be a difference maker in getting your property sold. While you may be thinking why should I invest money in my neighbors yard, the point is it could cost you a lot more money in not selling your home for top dollar.

Foreclosures – If a bank owns an empty house next to yours, you may have to do some research and make some phone calls to get things taken care of. In most situations the bank is required to at least maintain a basic level of care for the property, including keeping vagrants out and maintaining the landscape. The rules will vary depending on where you live, but it is worth your while to make some phone calls to get things cleaned up.

Sometimes early on in the foreclosure process the lender just has not gotten around to hiring a company to maintain the property. The home may look disgusting – preventing anyone from considering your home. If the home has been like this for a while after the bank has owned the home get in contact with them and send them pictures of what the property looks like. Most banks will move to make the home more of a priority.

The hoarder – Do you remember the 70’s sitcom Sanford and Son? Fred Sanford loved collecting junk. So much so his entire yard was filled with the stuff. He just couldn’t help himself. Maybe you have a neighbor that fits this description?

Some people really like to collect things, both inside their homes and in their yards as well. If your neighbor has a huge appliance collection out in the front yard, it may benefit you financially to spend a little money now on your neighbor’s property. Offer to buy him or her a cheap shed to store all the junk in and even to help clear it all up. You may have to spend a few hundred dollars and get a little dirty, but it could be worth it to make more money on your home sale. Whatever you do don’t decide to take matters into your own hands and go clean up your neighbors yard! Houselogic a real estate portal reports on 6 horror stories of bad neighbor behavior. The last thing you want is to become your communities latest news story.

Tips For Selling a Home With Bad NeighborsJunk cars – There are also neighbors who have a fondness for automobiles – whether they run or not. If your neighbor has one or more broken down cars next door you could possibly get the law on your side by making a phone call or two. Most cities have rules for abandoned cars and you may be able to have the city come and tow it off. If the car is definitely owned by your neighbor, you may have to get more creative. The city may be interested in making the neighbor clean up, but it may not.

If you can’t get help from the authorities, offer to rent a garage for the neighbor’s car so he or she can access it – while keeping it out of sight from those checking out your home for sale. Recently I was selling a home in Bellingham Massachusetts and the neighbor had an old beat up beer truck in the yard. The seller asked the neighbor politely if they would remove the vehicle because they were going to be selling their home. The neighbor unfortunately was nasty and would not even think about it. The seller put in a request for the town to do something about it and they did! The neighbor was promptly ask to get rid of the truck which they reluctantly did.

Noisy or obnoxious neighbors – This can be a tough situation to address effectively. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth trying, though. You could start off by talking to the neighbor. Some people don’t realize that they are being noisy and they may be willing to quite down once notified of the problem. If the neighbor tends to sit out on the porch and drink while harassing passersby, the city may be willing to address the problem.

Keep in mind that you may actually have to disclose the noisy neighbor to potential buyers, depending on the rules that govern your area. You may also get lucky. A neighbor that seems obnoxious to you may be seen differently by a prospective buyer. Maybe the buyer wants nothing more than to sit out on the porch and drink too.

If you happen to live in a condominium and it is regulated by a homeowners association, more than likely there are rules that have been put in place that prohibit loud and obnoxious behavior. Most condo boards will have little tolerance for those who freely wreck havoc with their neighbors. Often times your neighbor is just oblivious to the fact they are disturbing you. Proper etiquette suggests that you ask them nicely to stop what they are doing first before you make waves with an outside party. By not asking nicely first you are bound to create waves with your neighbor and make an uncomfortable situation worse.

Selling a Home and Dealing With Difficult NeighborsDangerous neighbors – There may be situations where you genuinely feel unsafe around your neighbor. He or she may be verbally abusive or threatening or otherwise unpleasant. In this case you may feel compelled to tell your prospective buyers about the problem. If the neighbor is a real problem, it may be worthwhile to contact your local police department to discuss the issue. If the person is making your truly uncomfortable or threatening you, he or she is probably breaking the law in the process.

Problem dogs – With the number of foreclosures and abandoned homes in recent years, some pets have been left to roam the streets on their own. Dogs will tend to form packs and can be dangerous in certain situations. This is one problem that is easily addressed. Call animal control and notify them of the issue and it should be taken care of fairly quickly. Maybe it is just your neighbors dog and not a stray? In this case discuss the fact you are going to be selling your home with you neighbor. If the dog is being loud and obnoxious express this concern to your neighbor. Tell them that you have a fear of it affecting your ability to procure a buyer.

Nosy neighbors – Every neighborhood has a gossip and unfortunately sometimes they are located right next door. If your next-door neighbor is nosy and you are worried he or she will bother potential buyers during the sales process, have a talk with the neighbor before you begin having people over. Let the person know that you prefer that the real estate agent is the person that does all the talking to the buyers.

You want to make sure the agent is doing his or her job, after all. This may be enough to keep chatty neighbors at bay. Be advised that if you are planning on having an open house one of the downfalls will be your nosy neighbor showing up. This is one of the reasons why top real estate agents will explain to sellers that open houses do not sell homes. In the vast majority of circumstances an open house is nothing more than an opportunity for a Realtor to prospect for additional clients.

There is no doubt that all of these things can present obstacles to selling your home. It is how you choose to deal with these things that will determine the final outcome. Dealing with a difficult neighbor is never easy. I would put it right up there with selling a home with a tenant who does not want to leave your property. They are both tricky situations that need to be handled with kid gloves. Ultimately it is how you handle these situations that will determine your success. Always remember that cooler heads will prevail.

Additional Helpful Resources For Dealing With Bad Neighbors

Use these additional articles to learn more tips on how to deal with a neighbor that makes your life miserable while selling your home.


About the author: The above Real Estate information on how to deal with bad neighbors when selling a home was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 27+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

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  1. says

    Oh my junk cars are probably the most common especially in foreclosure or short sale situation and of course, the neighborhood in general. As with anything, it helps to know how to deal with difficult people and offering to help can be a major insult. But if you had a good report before with the neighbor it can be easier. IF you never got along with them, trying to get them to help now is almost impossible.

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