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A Homeseller’s Guide to Dealing with Nuisance Neighbours

bad neighbours

Troublesome neighbours are an issue that as agents, most of us come across. And we certainly understand a Waterloo Region homeseller’s pain if they happen to be living next (or very close to) less than ideal neighbours. We can help homesellers control the image of your their property but we can’t always control what’s happening on their street. How do you diffuse difficult neighbours that could slow a home sale or impact a final sales price? Here are some of the tactics we’ve been able to help our clients employ that may be helpful to you too.

Is the neighbor’s landscaping an eyesore? Here’s your recourse

Most towns and cities have established ordinances regarding yard upkeep. If any of the properties adjacent to your listing are wildly overgrown, littered with junk, or otherwise in a state of obvious disrepair—take it up with the city.

Rather than get directly involved immediately on a personal level, homesellers might want to loop in city officials whose job it is to monitor clean-up efforts on rundown yards and properties.

If this doesn’t work, you may have to take a more hands-on approach. Start by thinking small and operating from a place of kindness and neighborly service. You can say to the messy neighbour that as you are getting your own property ready to sell and are undertaking the work anyway, you would be happy to give them a hand with property too, as you know how easy it is to get too busy to do so!

While it may seem like needless busy work, and such an offer will have to be framed very tactfully, it can dramatically improve prospective buyers’ perceptions of the area. Nervous? Ask your Realtor to help. They might be able to explain to the neighbour that they are listing your property and offer to have their lawn mowed (or whatever) as a courtesy introduction to the neighbourhood.

Are there foreclosed or abandoned homes on your block? Do your homework.

It may take a little research and digging to figure out the banking entity that owns a foreclosed home, but it’s well worth the effort. Banks are typically required to maintain foreclosed homes on at least a basic level. If you’re worried about squatters, an unsightly façade, or general disrepair of a neighbouring foreclosed property—go to the source.

Sometimes banks take their time in hiring a third party to maintain a foreclosed property, but with some proactive prodding on your part, you may be able to speed the process along and resolve eyesores even before prospective buyers come calling. Remember: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. An improved shot at getting the quick sale you are hoping for will be your reward for those few prodding phone calls and emails.

Noisy, nosy, or annoying neighbors? Don’t be discouraged

Obnoxious neighbours can really rain on a homeseller’s parade, especially the kind of neighbour that takes their less-than-stellar behavior to their porch, front yard, or sidewalk.

While tackling this sensitive issue may seem daunting, there are a few official channels you can utilize to solve the issue before getting personally involved. If the neighborhood in question is governed by an HOA, you might take it up with them. If the troublesome neighbor is harassing passersby or taking to the sidewalk—in other words, public space—then you may be able to involve local authorities in worst-case scenarios.

Of course, it’s always possible to talk to troublesome neighbours face-to-face, but do so with caution and with safety as the priority. Always reason gently and empathetically, utilizing I… phrasing, instead of accusatory You… phrasing. After all, some neighbours are clueless about their impact on the neighbourhood and may adjust their behavior after being called out.

If the issue persists and no third-party authority can help, then you may have to disclose the neighbour’s issues to prospective buyers. While this may seem like a blow, you can at least rest easy knowing you pursued all the potential avenues for resolution available.

While troublesome neighbours can bring down an optimistic mood when listing your property for sale, with diligence, digging, and a little follow-up, you just may be able to resolve some of the issues plaguing your less than friendly neighbourhood.

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