Would you buy next door to a messy house?

siobhanny5June 3, 2008

I'm going for a second look at a property tomorrow, but one major thing holding us back from this house is the one next door appears it's being let go, with the grass about a foot high, the siding visibly dirty and drooping, etc. This is on an otherwise great street of impeccably kept homes.

I've asked our agent if she can find out what the situation is with this house, if it's an elderly person who just needs extra help maintaining the property or if it's a less forgiveable situation we don't want to be "stuck" with. She said this man had his house on the market before, priced too high, and took it off.

Would you ever even consider a house next to such a property? And would you go so far as to knock on this person's door and ask a question about the neighborhood, to get a peek at what they're like? Or should we already be moving on? For what it's worth, I love the location otherwise.

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Maybe the house is vacant and in foreclosure now? If that is the case it would hopefully be cleaned up when it gets sold.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 11:19PM
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No, I wouldn't. Based on what I have observed with neighbors and friends, these properties are often indicative of the neighbor being a little nutty as well. We have a friend who has such a house next door to them it and has been a fiasco. The yard is a mess, the kids are unruly, the husband is a nutcase, etc.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 11:34PM
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No, find another home - there are plenty of other homes out there.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 1:05AM
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No. Never. If their house is an eyesore when their neighbor is trying to sell they are going to be trouble. One way or another.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 7:11AM
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No, wouldn't do it. Neighbors with messy houses/yards usually have other bad traits too. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 7:41AM
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either they don't care or can't afford to maintain property, or its in foreclosure...Either scenario would make me look elsewhere

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 7:49AM
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If you are serious about buying the house and the price is right...investigage further. Knock on some *other* doors in the neighborhood to get the scoop. Check RE tax records for liens and back taxes. Is the house a rental? Is it occupied? Ask the police if they are 'familiar' with the address. (They may or may not comment.)

(You would have to be serious about buying to put this much effort into detective work.)

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 11:02AM
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But I'm thinking if you are able find out it is a temporary situation, you may be able to get a bargain if you buy now.
I agree with the investigate further advice.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 11:23AM
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It would scare me away! My next door neighbor is bad about upkeep. She is otherwise a nice person and we are friendly with her. We trim her trees and shrubs. I know if we put our house on the market we would have to edge and mow her lawn or it would scare people away.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 11:26AM
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Checked out the house again and there are a couple of other issues with it, so moving on.

Thanks for the advice about the house next door. It looked the same today: unmowed grass, overgrown shrubs, grungy exterior, etc. The listing agent didn't get back to my agent about what the story is, so have to assume that means he's not going anywhere anytime soon.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 11:57AM
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If the house is empty the owners could mow and edge the lawn. It would be the smart thing to do because I am sure it is costing them sales.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 1:31PM
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The first house I bought was next door to an unkempt property. The house was brick and looked OK. The double garage with old dirty doors sat behind the house and beside it was a very rusty shed which I saw every time I looked out my kitchen window. There also was trash and junk sitting between the house and garage. The owners mowed their grass once about every four times I mowed mine! The yard was also quite weedy. But they were good neighbors...never once bothered me in any way. Funny thing, since I sold it and moved, they have cleaned up the property! They put on new garage doors, torn down and hauled away the rusty shed, hauled away all the old junk, etc.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 2:38PM
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I've been there, and I wouldn't do it again.

Our neighbor (oh, the irony) worked for home depot. Never did a thing to his house. One day a tree fell on the roof and it took him about a month to get the roof repaired. He hired such cheap guys to do the work that they kicked over his fireplace and roofed over it.

There were always dead cars, etc. I thought when I bought the house I could get trees to screen him because I loved the house I bought, but looking at his house every day for five years, and then having it be such a turnoff to buyers when I was trying to sell, has put me firmly in the "run like hell" camp.

I actually waited until he was at work one day and went over and hid all the trash in his backyard behind his (falling down) garage.

It's no fun to look at everyday, let me tell you...

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 5:25PM
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NO WAY~~~ Location, location, location....first rule in buying real estate. This would lower the value of yours.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 6:52PM
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NO WAY~~~ Location, location, location....first rule in buying real estate. This would lower the value of yours.

Ditto here.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 10:35PM
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No way. It would hurt your chances to sell.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 2:47AM
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We passed on the house.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 7:53AM
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My parents once knew someone who lived in a messy house and apparently the inside was immaculate, with woodwork in the dining room and a marble floor in the porch. In other words they spent more time on the interior than the exterior..

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 5:10AM
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Never~~ Location, location, location.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Glad this surfaced or I would never have seen it - would appreciate suggestions on what to when it comes time for us to sell.

We live next door to a messy house. It was a bit tired looking when we moved in but has steadily gone downhill - way down. It's not abandoned, not in foreclosure, we (and another adjacent neighbor) have tried working with the owners to find solutions but have had no success. We've lived here 22 years, the messy owners have been here quite a bit longer than that. They are elderly but that is not the reason for the mess and disrepair and it does not appear financial resources are a problem - money is spent in other areas that are known to us, but not on the home. There is obviously some degree of mental illness, but nothing that would warrant intervention by an agency.

The city has known about this forever. Periodically we and the adjacent neighbor have pushed the city to take action and some issues do get addressed, minimally. But the messy neighbor is a retired lawyer and fights the city endlessly on code verbiage, finding other homes with similar 'violations' that have not been cited. As an example, he finds homes with parkway plantings that are technically against city ordinance as evidence that he should not be cited or fined. His example home will have a grass parkway with city planted trees and owner planted flowers in a bed around the trees. Messy neighbor's parkway has no grass, weeds and invasive ivy overgrowing the sidewalk, multiple owner planted trees that create safety issues seeing oncoming traffic on street and sidewalk. The city limbs up the trees when we complain, the owner plants more each spring and it goes round and round.

He has the time and mental acuity to fight the city - it costs him nothing and *seems* to be somewhat of a game. The city has other places to spend money and will not push this as a result. There is no doubt in my mind it would cost a fortune, result in very negative press and PR and likely get nowhere if it actually ended up in court. We always thought we'd outlast them, they would move to a condo or retirement home of some sort and new owners would clean things up before we would need/want to sell. But that has not happened and we are planning to market our home in the near future. The housing market is what it is and we'd have to deal with that regardless, but this neighbor adds to the difficulty. Any ideas???

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 12:15PM
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Hell to the Effin NO!

I moved into a house with a property next door just as you described, the person next door turned out to be the biggest redneck you could ever possibly imagine. Just to give you a list of things we had to endure:

-Riding quad on a 1/2 acre property, round and round and round, up and down the block.
-Lose dogs, no leash, coming onto our property growling at us! Bought my son his first bike, the very first day my son took it out for a spin, still learning how to bike, their dog bit him and we had to take my son to the hospital.
-Playing loud car stereo so the entire neighborhood could hear it. I thought I would lose my mind.
-Girlfriend who would sunbath nude in full view of our entire house including my sons bedroom window.
-Girlfriend performing oral sex on the bf in plain view of our house and the street we lived on.
-Trash/beer cans, even a dead squirrel tossed onto our yard.

We ended up taking these people to court, and spent over 10k in attorney fees.
Had to sell our house with quick madness because the situation was so horrible and emotionally draining resulting in taking a huge hit on the value of the property.

We had a beautiful house, I mean the curtest little house you could imagine. We had to move while they stayed there with their crappy yard and garbage. We were able to sell our house in less than 30 days.

Don't do it. Don't knock on doors. Don't ask questions, just put the car in drive and get the hell out of there now!!!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 7:34PM
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I know this is an old thread, and no longer an issue for the OP--but just for those who may have interest and read it...

Some years back, there was a messy house ACROSS the street from us--my next door neighbor had a lot of trouble selling because of it--people were outspoken about the fact that they wouldn't buy her house, because of the one across. She ended up dropping her price about 20% (mind you, this was back in the days when the market here was GOOD).

Now, we knew we'd be listing our house this winter. Unfortunately, the house next door was recently abandoned because of a family split-up. No one over there had cut the grass, raked leaves or done any other outside maintenance since last July. So last fall, every time I did our leaves, I did theirs. DH mowed their (foot-long) grass when he did ours for the last time. Sure enough, our agent was concerned that the next door property was vacant (he is another neighbor), when we listed in January. We assured him that we'd keep up the outside, while ours was on the market--we've already mowed once, and will continue to do so until settlement, in May.

I do think it makes a difference if the there's a really unkempt house in the vicinity. It can turn potential buyers off, or force you to lower your price, and no one will ever know how many people take a swing by to see YOUR house, and then decide not to even book a showing if they don't like how the neighborhood looks.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 8:13PM
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Azzalea, what will happen in July, 2 months after your buyers move in, they notice the vacant house is getting unkept and they then find out that you (and your agent) knew there was an issue and you were personally doing the upkeep. Won't they feel cheated? Did you disclose the messy vacant property?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 12:04AM
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I don't think it's going to be a problem--hopefully. We weren't asked anything like that (by the buyers, nor on the disclosure form). Also, the fellow on the other side of the empty house may mow the lawn (he already mows the lawn for a truly abandoned, horrible house on the other side of his).

Thing is, this is a recent split up. The owners are planning on selling the house, they just haven't listed it quite yet. By the time we make settlement, it should be on the market (about a week ago, the owner was asking me for my agent's name & #).

But the bottom line is? We're doing what we can now to keep our house and the vicinity presentable. Once we sell? It's out of our hands. We're not driving back, an hour+ each way, to cut the lawn next door--LOL! And our buyers are ONLY buying 'our' house and property. Hey, as long as the next door house is empty, our new owners get a bonus--they don't have to worry about sharing the common driveway!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 8:08AM
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If your buyers are going to be sharing a driveway and they didn't ask questions about the owners or go over and meet them themselves then any issues are on them. As the saying goes - Buyer beware!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:25PM
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    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 8:15PM
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This is a great thread. I bought a tiny fixer upper next door to a messy house. It was also across the street from a pack rat's house, in a poorly maintained neighborhod. I got a great price for Los Angeles, $89,500. but was not able to sell it when I tried, (twice,) and I have had terrible problems with the neighbors. I put in a potager garden in front, and planted an orchard and vegetable garden in back. I've had to take the neighbors on one side to court for harrassment, threatening an animal, and nuisance. I had to turn the neighbors on the other side in to Building and Safety for smuggling in illegal aliens and building four free standing buildings on the property without permits. It was a nightmare. Things have finally settled down, and someone had Building and Safety get the packrat house across the street cleaned up, but I learned my lesson. It's a psychic drain to have people like that close by, and turns out this block is full of drug dealers. I was a first time home buyer, I had on rose colored glasses, and didn't see the signs. I loved the horses, goats, and chickens. In the future, if I move, I will look for a neighborhood with beautiful gardens. We have had some good neighbors move in, and that has made a difference. But, there are still pockets of negativity.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 4:15PM
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