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Neighbors' Unkempt Homes Decrease Your Home Value: How to Take Action - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

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.

Ask Politely

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!


This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Houses cost to much. High house prices= bad because not everyone can buy a house.
    Low house prices = good, because more people can buy a house.
    If, you neighbors decrease your home value they are doing more to help the housing crisis then you, so leave them alone!

  2. I am at a loss on what to do. I have lived in my home for nine years. My neighbor is nice, but her house is horrible. Her yard is littered with trash and debris, porch roof is falling in, cars, all over, mice and who-knows what. I have contacted the town—-again. I have written them in March, June and July. They responded the first time, and the second time ONLY when I prodded them. I don’t know what to do. Shall I get an attorney?

    1. If you can’t get someone to enforce a city ordinance, I think the best thing to do at this point is get an attorney.

  3. There is a happy medium to this conversation. Sometimes people are among the first to build in a neighborhood and expect the covenants they have agreed upon be upheld in order that the property values stay intact to protect their investment. Thats not greedy, its just good planning for the future . Also there is an aesthetic they enjoy that is reflected in the covenants. As the neighborhood grows and changes, new folks may not always read carefully what they are signing or figure no one really cares and do as they wish for reasons other than hardship. Their homes reflect this. There are certainly cases of hardship and neighbors should understand and offer help. That is where communication comes in and human kindness. Yet, there are some personalities that just enjoy using the appearance of their property as a huge middle finger to everyone else. They do not value a peaceful co-existence or neighborly rapport . They would rather focus on not being “told” what to do. In which case they should never have agreed to the covenants of the HOA. For whatever reason this attitude or way of property maintenance occurs, the climate created in a neighborhood by one or two folks with this mindset can really be a catalyst for great contention. Especially when the majority of neighbors ascribe to the same care and attention to their properties going to great effort and expense to maintain them . What is the solution at this point? If a property is unkempt (we all know what we mean here within reason ) and is the first one you see entering a neighborhood It becomes an even greater issue. It sort of sets the tone of the neighborhood which is unfair to everyone else. Especially folks who might be interested in selling (maybe due to hardship) and making a good impression on perspective buyers. It is just unfair all the way around and such a shame. Out of respect for each other, neighbors should look with a fresh eye and see what their neighbors see and take pride. Show a little care and a little effort . Often times that goes a long way. Sure we don’t all have the same exact tastes, time, money, energy or work ethic but where is common courtesy? Where is caring for and respecting your neighbors? Children are watching and learning these things and for that we all have a great responsibility in the way we treat one another. If everyone bends a little, the middle ground might be a happy place. I say this with great hope. The world is tough enough and we all have value. We all deserve to live in peace and have our personalities shine but not at the expense of others. This is simply one person offering food for thought. Please know I don’t intend to imply that any of the people described or speaking in earlier posts are anything but lovely trying to do their best. I am truly speaking in general terms on a subject that really bothers me personally.

  4. My husband starts a project but never finishes it, like our house, he stripped all the paint off but now it looks embarrassing but he doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to re paint it but it looks awful on the outside!

  5. My neighbors yard that borders my back yard has never been finished. It looks terrible and people think it is part of my yard – very embarrassing. Is there anything I can do? The HOA Management company will not help.

    1. Hi Vera:

      If the homeowners association hasn’t taken action, the only other thing you might be able to try is looking into whether any local ordinances have been violated. I would do that next. Hope this helps!

  6. My neighbor has abandoned vehicles stuffed to the top with the spoils of their hoarding. They even pack items under the vehicles. They are rarely home, so no discussions can take place. It’s like they avoid the place. Thinking that removal of the vehicles might curb the hoarding, I reported them to the state for unregistered vehicles. Something has changed as the items stacked under the vehicles recently disappeared. But the decaying vehicles remain. Baby steps.

  7. I have a neighbor whos front yard is full of weeds,10feet tall weeds. Now rats have come around . Its now a health hazardIve seen people knocking on their door and leaving a note on the screen door. So I dont know whats going on. Its a disgusting sight.

  8. Well, Jessica, I am sorry this offends you. However, I believe when you buy a home in a neighborhood, there is an expectation that you will be responsible for protecting your part of that neighborhood. I happen to believe that real estate is an investment that I and the other neighbors have made. More times than not new buyers look for a desireable neighborhood to bring their family to, especially if they have children. There are HOAs in place in more & more subdivisions for just this reason. Protection of the investment. Also, a gardener to come twice a month to blow leaves, pull weeds & mow the yard, is not expensive. Sometimes you can get a better deal if you hire a gardener that already comes to the neighborhood to clean another property.

    1. Well its been a while since I have been by. I feel the need to point out a few assumptions that are being made. First of all, there is no hoarding at the home (no cars, no trash, no rats – though they do get the occasional wild, but non-native peacock). The house is kept up (painted every few years, relatively new roof – no leaks). My parents are not poor. They can easily afford a gardener; they just don’t want one. They do regularly pay a tree trimming service for maintaining the fruit and other trees on the property since that requires more physical labor than they are capable of. The property is not a fire nor health hazard. They just love the natural look of the native wild flowers and plants. Yes, many native species go to seed in the late summer and fall. However, other plants, bushes and trees on the property are green year round. As I said before, the garden/yard is well organized. It has areas for growing vegetables, fruits, succulents and it has A LOT of native wild flowers.

      Though homes can be investments, they are also where people LIVE, relax and can be themselves. My parents have been in that home since the ’70s. All three of us children were raised there. My parents’ home pre-dates the city and there is certainly no HOA. If someone sees their own home as an investment, that is fine. It is their money and their free choice. It is ALSO the free choice of neighbors to live as they wish. If someone is looking for investment property, then look at how the neighbors live BEFORE you buy. Don’t buy and then go around trying to change or harass your neighbors after the fact. The only good reason I can see in interfering is where there is a health or safety issue.

      I feel for those who find themselves in similar positions; either due to finances, lack of time, physical limitations, personal philosophy/taste or any combination of these. People do not deserve to be treated badly by those around them. Not everyone is going to have a yard or home that is “typical” (unnaturally green grass, geometrically trimmed bushes or monotonous gravel /bark ground cover). We should be helping and supporting each other, not lodging complaints in order to make more money.

  9. WHEN Property Owners let weeds grow out of control,rats and mice start coming around.Then it also becomes a HEALTH HAZARD ! BESIDES BEING A FIRE HAZARD. Who Cares if they can name every dead plant. How dare you be SO IRRESPONSIBLE !

  10. How about just accepting your neighbors for who they are?

    My parents like the natural look of the native California plants with their wet and dry season appearances. Their garden reflects this. They keep up the property for fire safety etc, but do not want a “typical” manicured look to their property. They can name every plant in their yard by both common and scientific names. Everything is mapped out on their computer (for this year and for the next several years). All the “weeds” are wanted just where and how they are.

    My parents have been extremely active in the community (boy and girl scout leaders for years, active in building up local hiking trails/parks, church, schools, donating money to local beautification projects, etc) They have been at their location for over 40 years, and it is not like anything has changed. Now newer people have moved in and are trying to force my parents to change the look of their home; just so they can get more money for selling or borrowing. HOW DARE THEY! Its not like the property has changed significantly. It seems like greed has replaced personal relationships and community. This article is just another lesson on how to harass people like my parents. HOW DARE YOU!

    1. JESSICA THANK YOU!! It’s not always just being slovern or lazy . Finances may be tight also for lawn care. People think that some neighbors who can’t afford landscaping, don’t care . But we do.

    2. Weeds do not attract rats. Rats love broken sewer pipes and garbage. Whoever says weeds attracts rats works for Monsanto.
      My neighbor just complained to me that I have not finished painting my house.
      Her husband glues her roof together so that he does not have to pay for a new roof. I have a new roof. Her husband actually walks around their roof with tar every time she has a leak.
      She sprays her yard with roundup so that she can make a monoculture grass lawn.
      She is proud of that.
      I do not. I have never put any poison or fertilizer on my yard. My yard is full of wildflowers which are beautiful. Her monoculture of roundup is not beautiful.
      Values are skyrocketing where we live because it is a great location, and, frankly, buyers want to be around people like me.

      1. I live in a townhouse city…My neighbors hate the birds; they hate my tree because birds sit there…They hate leaves falling off the trees — they cut all their trees down because they can’t stand nature…Now they try to sneak on to my tiny property with Roundup and spray my foliage in an effort to make it look chopped up, withering, and dead…I caught one out in the backyard spraying my wild grapevine growing lush in my tiny plot…She said she was afraid the vine WOULD GROW onto her fence — NOT that it had in fact grown there…I had been going out at night trimming it back…I prefer the summer nights — they are cooler, quieter, and neighbor-free during these Covid times…They prefer to blame me for all rodents even though they are the ones storing their garbage outside, failing to clean up dog waste, finishing their basements so they cannot see their foundations for gaps and rodents…I have a sealing kitchen bin for garbage, no dogs, and unfinished basement, repaired and replaced piping (internals and externals as well)…Their “clean, neat homes” have the rodents while mine does not…What they hate is that I do not resort to an artificial look and prefer tastefully trimmed back, asymmetrical, nature…Thanks for reminding people that rodents use compromised piping and sealing to enter homes — not foliage…

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