Help!! Need advice on selling home

jjellisFebruary 26, 2010

We're currently trying to sell our home and I need some advice. We've had 10 showings since the house went on the market two weeks ago, of course that's to be expected at the beginning but we've had no offers. Our house is in great condition and is move in ready, comes with all appliances, we've priced well below what the other houses in our area are going for in hopes of having a quick sale but we still can't sell. I understand that we can't expect to sell our house in two weeks in this market but I'm also worried.

The main feedback we keep getting is that they liked the house but didn't make an offer because of the neighbors...let me explain, the house and the yard that our house backs up to was beautiful when we first moved in, since than some younger people have moved into the house and have let it get to...well can't say the word I really want to say. They have an above ground pool that they never cover or clean, they have a rusted out shed and a childs play set that's falling apart. They've recently built a dog kennel that's larger than life...the thing is at least 24 x 20 x 10. It's made with plywood and chain link fence it has three compartments for their three dogs and it is a terrible eye sore...their yard is also always dirty and the dogs have torn up all the grass and have dug up huge holes in the ground. That's just some of the problems, there are more but I don't think I have enough space to list them all.

We've called the city and they haven't been able to help us get any of it cleaned up...what do I do!! I'm at a loss, how do I overcome this hurdle and sell my house. Will buyers ever overlook the neighbors yard and buy our house. The neighborhood is otherwise very nice and all other other neighbors take great care of their homes. We don't feel comfortable saying anything to the people that live at this house about it because they are a group of young men that are always drinking and partying in the back yard, and I worry they would retaliate if we said anything. I have a small child and I don't want to put my family in harms way.

Feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thank You

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Neighbors are always an issue... that's why I live in a covenanted/restricted community! :) There's not a lot you can do, especially if you don't have a relationship with the current occupants. You *might* consider going over and sort of explaining the situation, saying something like "We're trying to sell our house, and it will sell better if the whole area looks well maintained. Would you mind if I replaced some of your grass in the front yard?" Offer to do the work...

Can you screen/fence out any of the offending eyesores? Or is it just stuff that's visible as you pass their property before you get to your's?

I bought a house after driving buy it 10 times, checking out how often the neighbors had a pickup parked in their front yard (often). I decided to buy the house anyway, and then put up a trellis and planted vines on it to screen them out. :) It's now a rental property, and the pick up is still there on the grass, 10 years later.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 10:41PM
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Are the people living in the house the owners or are they renters?

If they are the owners, my first approach would be a friendly discussion with them about the feedback you are getting, leading to one or two specific requests. For example, if they don't use the above-ground pool, ask them to remove it, with a backup position of offering to handle the removal for them, along with the swing set.

At the same time, I would be looking at installing a high privacy fence.

If the friendly approach fails, then you have to put pressure on the city government. The pool is a mosquito breeding ground and therefore a health hazard. Tell the city you are finding rodents in your yard and you believe they are nesting in the shed. Rodents carry ticks that give you Lymes disease. Go to the city offices in person. Make a pest of yourself. Squeaky wheels get the oil.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 9:14AM
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Thanks for the advice. The people that live there don't own the property, the lady who owns it moved away a while ago and now lets family members (mostly younger ones) move in and out as they please. Wish I could obstruct the view with a privacy fence but we have a split level where the deck is on the 2nd level and it oversees their yard and a privacy fence wouldn't help with that. We used to have trees in our backyard that blocked the view but we had some ice storms a while back and our trees came down during the storms. I will take your advice and go back to city hall and keep trying until they do something...and if they don't I will just have to try talking to the neighbors.

Lesson house will definitely be in a neighborhood with some sort of neighborhood assocation to handle these kinds of things.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 11:25AM
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Just a thought! Call the owner, talk to her, as it seems to be family problems. Find out why she is doing this, quietly, and then talk to the health dept and animal control. Are the dogs licensed? Drugs? Underage drinking? but I do agree, you are walking a fine line due to having a small child and your own safety. You might also talk to a lawyer about having them write a letter to the owner, as I think the tenets don't care or ? This might be a way for the owner to "get rid" of certain relatives.
Ben there and done that dealing with a rental.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 1:24PM
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This is one of those times when an HOA IS a good thing. Good luck with this.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 2:13PM
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If you are having problems with these neighbors chances are so are some of the other folks on the street. Get them to call and complain to the owner and to the city and health department. There is power in numbers. The more of you that call and complain and make a fuss the better your chances of getting it taken care of.

Chances are you will eventually find someone who doesn't mind this type of situation, the problem is it may be a long while.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 2:45PM
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I have a couple suggestions: First, go to your courthouse and make 100% sure your neighborhood does not have restrictions. I found out a few years ago that ours did; they were recorded nearly 35 years ago (an older neighborhood) but no one even knew! Most restrictions say something about general nuisances. Of course, getting these neighbors to conform to the restrictions without an attorney's involvement could be a bit tricky. I did this once, though. The attorney just wrote a threatening letter to the owners and it worked like a charm.

Secondly, as soon as your weather permits, get planting! Leland Cypresses (sp?) can be purchased tall, are green year round, and grow very fast. A potential buyer could be reassured by the fact that the trees are already in place and will be acting as a fantastic buffer in a short time.

I ditto xine's suggestion to help your neighbors clean up. You could even offer to buy the pool and the swing set. It could be money well-spent. You could think of it in terms of fixing up your house to sell.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 9:56PM
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"You could even offer to buy the pool and the swing set. It could be money well-spent."

That's an interesting idea --- Not insulting in any way. Certainly plausible, seeing as how you have young children. And probably inexpensive...

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 10:55AM
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Privacy fence.
It could be done in two days.
If you don't want to do the whole yard just do the rear property line- double points if you plant a big conifer every ten feet or so. Turn an eyesore into a focal point.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 12:08PM
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You might try some tall evergreen trees along the fence, too. My mother had almost the same problem and planted a bunch of Leland Pines - they grow super fast, and they block the view of her neighbor's above-ground pool and whatever it is they do around there. Lol... so much nicer now! Here's a link to see some of them - I think they have prices, too... of course, my mother just went to Home Depot for hers. :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Top 5 Privacy Trees that Increase Property Value

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 9:58AM
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Even a "fast" growing tree isn't going to screen anything if you are trying to sell now.

Also, if your deck is on the second level, a fence won't help either.

Your only real options are to figure out a way to force them to fix the problems and sell your home at prices similar to the rest of the neighborhood OR lower the price of your home so that it is such a bargain that buyers will overlook the neighbors. Unfortunately for you, a huge eyesore next door lowers your property value substantially.

Personally, I would give it a little time. You are obviously priced at a level that is bringing traffic in. In the meantime, I would bug the city every day. You'll probably have to do some research to find a particular ordinance they are violating though.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 10:52AM
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This isn't going to help you, but it might someone else. We planted the hybrid willows in the link above. They came as a set of ten as five foot sticks. At the end of the first summer, they were 12-15 feet tall. We sold at the end of the next summer and they were 30 feet tall. They added to the appeal of our house and blocked out the view of the neighbors looking into our yard. My dh trimmed up the undersides so it was more like being under an umbrella than against a solid wall. My yard stood out from the other yards in the neighborhood because most of the other neighbors had never bothered to add trees.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 1:07PM
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    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 6:13PM
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