Just like family, we can’t pick our neighbors. Unfortunately for many homeowners, having a bad neighbor can extend beyond being simply an annoyance and become a blight on your neighborhood and property value.
At no fault of your own, it is possible for a bad neighbor to lower home values by more than 5-10 percent, according to The Appraisal Institute, the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers. Referred to as an external obsolescence, this depreciation caused by external factors can come from a variety of problems. It could be from foul odors, unmaintained exteriors of the home, loud pets, a history of crime or neighbors with certain criminal offences and overgrown yards, just to name a few.
If you find yourself in a situation that has the potential to decrease your property value, there are some steps you can take to address the problem:
Talk to the Neighbor
As long as you feel comfortable doing so, talking to your neighbor is the best first step to take. If it’s something like yard and home exterior maintenance, having a polite conversation may lead to quicker resolution than you would have thought. If the neighbor needs some help, perhaps try to offer your services or give suggestions of how the issue can be resolved.
Contact Your HOA
If this issue can’t be resolved through talking with the neighbor, then contacting your Homeowners Association is a reasonable next step. The HOA will typically have certain regulations on things like noise and lawn and exterior care, for example, and will have it in their best interest to enforce these rules.
Contact Your Municipality
The city you reside in will have restrictions on many of these issues, and if you haven’t been able to resolve any of them with the above options, then it may be time to take your complaint to the city officials who can handle the issue from there. Check with your city’s laws and restrictions beforehand so you can express your concerns in conjunction with a specific violation.
What it comes down to is protecting your most valuable physical asset, your home. There is no one guaranteed way to resolve all issues, but approaching it in a calm, respectful manner will typically garner the most positive results. We don’t have to get along with our neighbors, but working together for the good of the neighborhood is to everyone’s benefit.
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