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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!


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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 !

  7. 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!

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