Home Selling Advice: Handling Difficult Neighbors

Now here’s a prickly problem many home sellers face: Let’s say you’ve done everything to make your home irresistible — the place looks great and the price is right.

But let’s say there’s a kid next door who plays basketball for hours everyday. All you hear is bounce, bounce, bounce. So you get a little worried it could turn off potential buyers looking for peace and quiet.

Or, let’s say your neighbor’s bushes are badly overgrown, or they’ve got a big pile of tires or an army of pink flamingos on their front lawn. Again, you worry that your neighbor’s preferences may affect the chance of selling your home.

What can a home seller do?

In some cases, if you’re on good terms, you can ask your neighbor in a polite, semi-groveling way (see post on 9/23) if they’ll make a small change for you. For example, on several house selling occasions I’ve worked with neighbors to get their bushes trimmed back, volunteering to do the job.

Another time, when trying to sell a condo, my neighbor across the hall chanted loudly and continually everyday for hours – right next to her front door. It was a low, bear-like sound that scared visitors and you could hear her all the way down the corridor, six condos away.

Again, I ratcheted up my courage and appealed to my neighbor directly. She had no idea others could hear her. Somewhat embarrassed, she moved her chanting further away from the door. Problem solved.

Sometimes you can fix issues if you live in a place with homeowner association rules. In this case you can nicely remind them of relevant policies. If they still don’t abide, consider going to the association and telling them about it. (i.e. ratting on them.)

On some occasions you can bribe people to make changes… offer free tickets to basketball games if your neighbor’s kids move their hoop time to a local park. (This of course, can be tricky.)

And sometimes there’s just not much you can do. But you may find what you think is a problem, doesn’t bother a new buyer. Maybe they don’t mind pink flamingos — or a potential buyer with kids will be excited by the basketball playing: “Hey look Joey, you can have a built-in friend!”

Now how about you? Have you encountered neighbor problems while trying to sell a house? How were you able to fix it? Or couldn’t you?

For hundreds of home selling tips, read the Home Seller’s Blues eBook. Now also available on Amazon’s Kindle (including Mac and PC download) and the Apple iBook store.

Would you like a printed copy of the book? Email me at joanf@homesellersblues.com

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Comments

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Joan, I’ve just discovered your blog through an article in the L.A. Times. I’m a Realtor in the San Fernando Valley area, and your very necessary blog is going to be required reading for my sellers and buyers from now on. Way to go — this is actually humanitarian assistance. I will add you to my blogroll (URL above) and would appreciate it if you would add me to yours. Keep up the good work.

Judy, thank you for your comment and for the blog link exchange. I was so surprised that there was nothing out there to cheer on and inspire home sellers when I was going through the process myself — that’s why I vowed to find good answers and pass them on. I would have liked to have something like this when I was a frustrated seller, so I enjoy providing the support.

interesting, thanks

Helpful blog, bookmarked the website with hopes to read more!

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