You hear it everywhere – now is the best time to buy a home. And it really is, but this great time is almost over. In fact, you have less than a month left – ouch! You might say: but I don’t want a house right now… I think I’ll wait for a better time. Well, the truth is a “better time” might not come around for a very long time… as in you might be old and gray and still not own a home.
We all like to take pride in the hard work we put into our lawn and our home, but that can be tough when we look next door and our neighbor has a rusty trailer with weeds growing out the sides sitting in the driveway. If your neighbor has grass 2 feet tall, stacks of newspapers on the porch and unsightly siding, the value of your own home can be affected. It’s crazy to think, but it’s true.
Buyers look for homes in kept-up neighborhoods, and even if your home is beautiful inside and out, your neighbor’s neglected lawn can decrease the value of your house 5–10%. Don’t let frustration overcome you when you’re trying to solve this problem; here are some ways to take a cordial approach to the situation.
Contact Your Homeowners Association
A homeowners association is a group of property owners in a neighborhood or housing community that enforces rules and regulations on the homes within it. HOAs are there so your neighborhood or subdivision maintains its value. The HOA implements rules on lawn care, your home’s exterior, what you can keep in your driveway and more.
If you’re dealing with a difficult neighbor whose lawn and home are an eyesore to you and your neighbors, your HOA is the first place you should turn. They will be the ones to issue a notice to the homeowners, and if the neglect continues, they’ll be the ones to send a fine or take other measures. If your HOA is not adamant about resolving the issue, band together with a few neighbors and continuously ask. They may be more likely to listen to a large group of people rather than just one person who’s complaining.
If you do not have an HOA, or if your HOA is being extremely difficult and not handling the situation, it’s time to see what you can do. Try walking over to the problematic neighbor and politely expressing your concern. The answer is always no unless you ask. If you’re trying to sell your home, express your concern of not being able to sell because the neighborhood hasn’t been looking its best. Maybe include that you are asking a few neighbors in the community – that way, the neighbor won’t feel singled out or attacked.
Next, offer your help. Maybe this homeowner just simply doesn’t have the time, funds or ability to take care of the exterior of his or her home. Try getting a group of neighbors together to help each other with lawn work on Saturday mornings. This is a great way to form a positive relationship with your residential community.
Contact the City or County
Lastly, if you’re dealing with a very stubborn and bitter neighbor about their neglected curb appeal, it’s best to back off and let the city or county you live in handle it. It’s easy to let a neighborhood feud arise, but that’s not in your best interest – especially if you’re trying to sell your home. You don’t want this neighbor jeopardizing any future sales.
Every city or county has different laws on home exteriors and different ways to go about the situation. Check with your city’s laws and make sure they apply to what you’re complaining about. Going to the city could eventually mean taking your neighbor to court. Really weigh your options before doing so, because that could get sticky when you’re living so close. Hopefully you won’t have to employ this option – but keep it as a last resort.
If you’re living near a foreclosure that has no one taking care of it, it’s going to become overgrown and hard to look at quite fast. Foreclosures are a completely different situation because they’re bank-owned, and the bank’s only concern is getting the property to sell.
If you’re trying to get the neighboring foreclosed home taken care of, you’ll first want to check with a local real estate agent to find out which bank owns the property. Try calling that bank and expressing your concern about the home needing a great deal of maintenance. Some banks will comply immediately because they don’t want to get in trouble with the city, as it might make their selling process a little more difficult. Others, however, might not care that one person is calling with a complaint. In that situation, band together with your surrounding neighbors and call till they comply.
I would not recommend going over and fixing up the foreclosed home’s entire exterior, but if it badly needs its grass cut and you happen to have your lawn mower out, there’s no harm in taking care of the problem yourself. Don’t do anything beyond surface-level lawn work, however, because the bank-owned property is not yours and you don’t know what types of laws you’re crossing.
I hope these approaches to dealing with homes help you out! If you have any other suggestions, please post them in the comments section below!