Imagine you are a real estate investor and decided to sell one of your property (e.g. house, apartment, or commercial property), and then there are few questions that can make you think hard. For example, Should You Talk to Neighbors Before Selling Your Property?

Not only that, but there are also a few more fundamental questions related to your neighbors you would ask yourself, such as:

Question#1: Do I have to disclose my neighbors before deciding to sell my property?

Question#2: Do I have such equation with my neighbors that I can comfortably discuss with them, this matter of selling my property?

Question#3: How will they react when I will discuss this property selling matter?

Question#4: What are the advantages and disadvantages of discussing my house selling matter with neighbors, and when should I discuss it? Before, during or after selling?

Question#5: With bad neighbors, what I can do legally if they try to become a hurdle during the property selling process?

If similar queries strike your mind, then this article is written for you, to answer everything you need to know:

from selling your property to how to handle potential disputes with neighbors.

You can navigate to the section that best answers your ambiguous thoughts.

Let’s discuss the topic now…

Should You Talk To Neighbors Before Selling Your Property?

Well, it depends on how good your relations are with your neighbours. According to my property investment experience, if you are in good terms with your neighbours, then you should go for it. On the other hand, if your relations with your neighbours are unpleasant then DO NOT rock the boat as you are not obliged to inform them about your property decision.

Okay, let’s jump right into details, so you can understand my points better.

Who is a Good Neighbor?

A ‘good neighbour’ is someone friendly, nice, reasonable, understandable and approachable.

Bear in mind that a good neighbour has the power to increase the value of your real estate property.

For example, if your neighbor keeps their home and their surroundings neat and clean, it can create a good first impression on the potential buyer’s mind because nobody wants to buy a house nearby where there are dirty or messy neighbors or neighborhood.

good neighbour

Being in good terms with your neighbour can make your life easier in many ways. Considering this, you can follow the following tips to establish a friendlier and healthier relationship with your neighbors.

Remember, honest, genuine relationship with a neighbor can go a long way, so it’s something worth investing your efforts on.

  1. Take out some time and introduce yourself to your neighbors.

You can also offer your neighbour, a gift as a goodwill gesture (e.g. A food dish or a Christmas gift can be a nice option).

Note: I would encourage you especially visit those neighbors’ places with whom you share a wall with. Then, those who you share a fence with.

2. Always practice parking etiquettes while parking your vehicle and try not to block anyone’s access.

Always try to park your car in your driveway or in front of your property but not in theirs so they won’t be troubled. Also do not slam light into your neighbour’s window when you drive in and out, especially late at night.

3. Always put any garbage/rubbish collection on the due/right day in which it is supposed to be collected.

4. Most importantly, keep your neighbors in your loop and try to be in touch with them because that’s how you will open a communication channel with them.

Note – Even if you do not plan to sell your house now, try to build friendly relations with your neighbors because you never know when you will need them.

One last thing that you need to know before going to the next section is, nobody will ever advise you to be best friends with people living next door. In fact, to have a good neighbour, you first need to become a good neighbour yourself. So, trying to become best friends in not my recommendation here.

Now, let’s look at what I meant by a bad neighbour.

Who is a Bad Neighbor?

Bad neighbors can come in all shapes and forms, they may be someone who gets onto your nerves by doing something that is either annoying or illegal.

A bad neighbour can be a potential obstacle in selling your property smoothly and intentionally make you feel uncomfortable in your neighborhood.

According to the Appraisal Institute of the USA, a nationwide professional association of real estate appraisers, bad neighbor behaviour includes the below.

➢ A poorly maintained exterior of the house

➢ Odours

➢ Unkempt yards, gardens, or curbs

➢ Loud music

➢ Annoying/noisy pets etc.

➢ Too many cars, usually more than 2 cars

➢ Too many people living in the property compared to the size of the property

➢ Neighbours with unreasonable and unrealistic expectations

➢ Regular parties and gatherings with their friends

These behaviours can minimize your property’s value by more than 5% to 10%.

Furthermore, if you are not on good terms with them, then they can bad mouth your property to your potential buyer when they come to talk to them about your property. And can ruin your reputation, which would make your property buyer doubtful of whether buying this property a good decision or bad one.

You should follow the below steps when dealing with troublesome neighbors:

  1. Speak with other neighbors, identify issues and then approach the bad neighbour together.

2. If your neighbour is violating any restriction e.g.

➢ Invading your property without your consent

➢ Not controlling their pets (having pets that are aggressive, noisy) or having pets that poop on your property area and can become a potential health hazard.

Nosey neighbor

First, have a chat about the problem you experience with the ‘bad neighbor’.

If talking to your neighbour did not work in your case then you can file a complaint against him to concerned authority (such as Community Justice Centre, Local Health Department/ Environmental Health Department, Municipal committee or the Local Council).

3. You can also hire an attorney if all else fails.

Always remember that the fees of hiring an attorney will always be less in comparison with possible/expected property loss in value.

Now, let’s turn back our original question and the advantages of having a chat with your neighbor about selling your property.

Firstly, let’s look at the scenario of a good neighbor.

Advantages of Talking to Neighbors Before Selling Your Property (If the Neighbor is ‘good’)

Now suppose your neighbours are good or you are in good terms with them then you can enjoy several advantages of discussing property selling matters with them.

I will list them below.

❖ Having good relations with your neighbors and informing them of selling your property will help you to ensure their support and cooperation when you need them at critical times of the property sale process.

For example, you can ask the neighbors to give special attention to their curbs and surrounding areas and keep them clean as it can give your buyer a good impression about your neighborhood.

❖ Another advantage of giving them a heads up about selling your property is that they might be interested in buying your property for themselves.

If this is the case, then consider yourself lucky as it saved you from searching for buyers far and wide. And, paying commissions to the Realtor and agents.

❖ Your neighboring homeowners could be interested in selling their property at the same time, which gives the benefit of increasing the value of your land by grouping together.

You should be on the same page while deciding the price rationale though. This stops the buyer from complaining that the price of your property is either cheaper or more expensive than the property of your neighbour.

Disadvantages of Talking to Neighbors Before Selling Your Property (Regardless the Neighbor is Good or Bad)

All of us have already heard about bad neighbours nightmare tales that narrate: “people next door are not ideal, and their presence in our community does not feel very warm and welcome”.

You should be aware, when it comes to marketing your property in terms of selling points, then these problematic people are obviously going to make the selling process pretty tough for you.

The Appraisal Institute, the USA’s largest professional association of real estate praisers, warned property owners and potential buyers to be cautioned about a lousy neighbour because he/she can significantly reduce your property values.

Think 100 times before you discuss selling your property with bad neighbours, especially before you haven’t found a buyer for it as yet.

If the obnoxious neighbour is not your ‘well-wisher’, then he can misrepresent your property by approaching the potential buyer of your selling property in the following ways:

❖ He/she can tell the potential buyer that the owner of this property has set an unrealistic price and based on comparison with other properties in the same area, this property is marketed with a very high price expectation.

❖ He/she can manipulate buyers by telling the buyer that the seller is hiding major problems such as this property is at high risk of damage from a natural disaster or has known or potential environmental contamination.

❖ He can also narrate false stories such as this property is haunted or somebody died here, and the seller conducted illegal activities there in the past.

❖ As you know “the first impression is the last impression” and to destroy this impression, your neighbour can throw garbage on the property or outside yard before the buyer visits for inspection.

It will make your property look unclean and untidy and can put off buyers as they won’t know or care if your property was clean last week.

❖ He/she can misguide buyers by telling them “this property once faced water damage and concerned authorities warned property owners that it can happen again and can damage personal possession and property structure”.

❖ He can totally destroy a buyer’s interest by saying that the seller of this property is behind your money and will not sign any contract with you and that he has done similar things with many interested buyers in the past. As soon as you pay him, he will disappear.

Now, let’s look at some actions you could take if you are next to a bad neighbour and you would like to sell your property.

Tips for Selling Your Property With a Bad Neighbor

Imagine, finally, you have decided to sell your property with a bad neighbour who is such a blight for the entire community. He or she has serious implications on the value of your property while you are looking to sell it.

This scenario leads us to the question: whether you should tell your prospective buyer about those problems that you faced due to your neighbors and run a great risk of degrading the market value of your property?

For in-depth understanding of this query, have a look at a few tips of how to sell out your property when you have gotten problematic neighbors.

Legal Standpoint

Supposedly, your prospective buyer has done all the research regarding a particular community or neighborhood and has finally decided to be part of it. You haven’t already informed him about a serious problem regarding a bad neighbour that you might have faced in the past.

Then you may be in big trouble if that problem occurs later because the buyer might take legal action against you on the basis that you hadn’t disclosed him of this problem before.

So, make sure you get legal advice on the matter as jurisdiction to jurisdiction (e.g. depending on the state and country) these legal requirements would differ.

So, basically, I advise you to be transparent to the neighbour’s situation with the buyer to avoid possible legal trouble down the line, if that’s what your lawyer’s advice you to do.

Getting Emotional

Keep your emotions in check before you take this important decision of selling your property. Do not sell your property just because you are dealing with bad neighbors. Think like a businessman, like you always do as a property investor and a developer, and say Goodbye to your property at the right time.

General Guidelines

When you are selling your property, and when a prospective buyer asks about problems that you have encountered with neighbors, and there is a possibility that he might face them in the future, then my suggestion to you to discuss only those issues that have a prominent effect on the relationship between your neighbour and buyer and of those issues which have some possibility that the buyer might face in the future.

Some obvious examples of these issues are:

➢ Disputes or disagreement such as over the height of a hedge or fence

➢ Over the boundary line dispute etc.

Noisy Neighbors Matter: You do not need to mention things like playing loud music or noisy kids on your own unless the buyer asks you about them.

Note: Be careful when you have to confirm such things because any false disclosure can cause you harm as the buyer could sue you (again check with your lawyer).

Moral and Ethical Guidelines

In general, as long as a dispute is not responsible for damaging any materialistic thing and you are not being asked about it, then you should not disclose it.

For example, as a seller, you should not disclose things like:

● one of a neighbour from this community comes home late from the pub and is rowdy,

or

● once a neighbour verbally abused me and even assaulted me in the past.

But, it is entirely a different matter to discuss these issues for the sake of morality. But, in my opinion, that should not come at a cost to you.

Moral of Discussion

Selling a property is challenging for some and a long-term commitment, even in the best circumstances. A lot of hard work is involved in selling your property.

Conclusion

The conclusion is that you should have healthy conversations with your neighbour as there are countless things that you can identify from having conversations with neighbors, such as whether they are beneficial to your property deals or not.

Conversing to good neighbors about your property selling matters can help you in making good property deals.

On the other hand, having a conversation about selling your property with bad neighbors who do not wish you well can make your situation miserable and can also put a stop to the selling process of your property for a long time.

Regardless, by following the above tips and having reasonable chats with them, regardless they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, can also save you from making selling mistakes that you could make otherwise.

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