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How Your Neighbors Can Help (or Hurt) Your Home’s Sale

Home Mortgage Zillow

When preparing to sell your home, you probably spend a lot of time and energy getting it in its best showing condition. But can improvements to your neighbor’s property help sell your home?

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Imagine that you’ve spent time and energy weeding the front yard, painting the front door, power-washing your siding and planting flowers. You’ve updated the kitchen and bathrooms and de-cluttered the home. You’re ready to go to market.

And then, when you step across the street to look at your home, all that stands out are the beat-up cars in your neighbor’s driveway, not to mention the torn-up lawn, barking dogs and overall negative curb appeal (or in this case, “curb unappealing”).

If you find the neighbor’s home unappealing, imagine what a potential buyer may think. The fact is, your neighbor’s unsightly property can rub off on your own house’s curb appeal, no matter how much you’ve done to improve it. But you have options.

1. Build a good relationship with your neighbors

Even if you don’t have a plan to sell now, it’s good practice to maintain a friendly relationship with the neighbors. You never know when you’ll need them.

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Aside from possible curb appeal issues, it’s not uncommon for issues to come up during a sale. Problems regarding fence repair, retaining walls or easements can often bring a neighbor into your home sale process. Having a good relationship with your neighbor from the beginning will help to ensure their cooperation when you need them at a critical time in the home sale.

2. Keep them in the loop

If you plan to sell your home in the near future, it’s a good idea to give the neighbors a heads-up well in advance. Aside from the occasional nosey neighbor, people simply like to be “in the know.” If you think you’ll need assistance from a neighbor for whatever reason, it will be easier to approach them if you’ve given them notice. Knocking on their door telling them you’re selling and then requesting their cooperation under the gun won’t help.

3. Offer to pay for improvements (but don’t try to control them)

It will be difficult to ask your neighbors to reseed their lawn, pull their weeds, change their fence or paint their door to help your sale. Ask them to pay for it, and you can expect resistance.

If you need your neighbor to do some curb appeal work to help your sale, the money should come out of your pocket. On top of that, you can’t force the neighbor to use your landscaper, painter or contractor, even if you’re paying for it. Don’t forget: It’s their home, not yours, and you need to tread lightly. Though many neighbors will appreciate the offer to spruce up their home on your dime, others may be hesitant. Bullying them to work on your timeframe or with your rules won’t help.

With luck, a home sale can proceed smoothly without the need to involve neighbors. But if you hope to sell in the future, understand that your neighbors’ cooperation may be necessary. If you plan in advance, open the doors of communication and offer to make things easy, you’re more likely to get what you want.

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Brendon DeSimone is the author of “Next Generation Real Estate: New Rules for Smarter Home Buying & Faster Selling,” the go-to insider’s guide for navigating and better understanding the complex and ever-evolving world of buying and selling a home. DeSimone is the founder and principal of DeSimone & Co, an independent NYC real estate brokerage providing individualized services and a fresh, hands-on approach. Bringing more than a decade of residential real estate experience, DeSimone is a recognized national real estate expert and has appeared on top media outlets including CNBC, Good Morning America, HGTV, FOX News, Bloomberg and FOX Business. Consumers often call on Brendon for advice and to help them find a real estate agent. You can follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.