Does this front yard bring real estate value down?

tlbean2004July 7, 2014

this house is infront of mine. I think that the front yard looks really messy. If someone put their house on the market could this neighbor scare potential buyers away?

There is a bbq grill that sits there 24/7, a table in the front yard with different color chairs, and a lot of other messy stuff.

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I think there are two separate, but related, questions:
1. Does the yard look messy?
2. Do people actually grill and socialize in their front yards?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 11:15AM
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Yes. If your house is up for sale, consider offering your neighbors $500 to remove the junk and keep the lawn mowed until closing (the money paid to them at that time). Also, if the yard and driveway in the foreground is yours, you need to edge it and spray the weeds growing in the cracks of the driveway.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 11:15AM
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Depends on the neighborhood.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 11:48AM
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It looks like they BBQ and socialize in their front yard.

As long as they aren't sitting out there with shotguns and taking pot shots at squirrels all weekend its not scary to me.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 11:57AM
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If 2. is acceptable in your neighborhood, then 1. is ok. It's not particularly messy.

Now, in my neighborhood, people have rockers and little tables on their porches, but those are purely decorative.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 12:59PM
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Yeah, it looks messy. Not a view I would want to look at every time I came out my front door. It may scare away some potential buyers. You could politely ask the neighbor to put away some of the crap while your house is for sale. I wouldn't pay them to do it though. It looks like a neighborhood with small "starter houses". If priced right, the messy neighbor might get overlooked. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 2:45PM
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The house might make it more difficult to sell, but it will not impact the value of the house.

I'm going to suggest that if that is your driveway in the foreground with the grass growing up through it and the mud, that will be a greater problem in terms of value.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 2:54PM
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It totally depends on the neighborhood. People on this board tend to be on the higher end of things, and many have low tolerance for things like cars parked on the street. In smaller towns/lower income neighborhoods people are a lot more "live and let live."

I moved from a $500K house to a $60K one in a different town and it's a very interesting difference in the mindset.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 6:36PM
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I think it could be a problem. A lot depends on the types of potential buyers you will have.

I just sold a 1940s ranch in a trendy area. Many of my potential buyers were younger single women, and multiple potential buyers mentioned the messy next door neighbors. One even said "love home but would not buy it due to messy neighbor to the north." Their back yard is terrible. After several months of no offers, I finally got a quote for putting a privacy fence across that side of the back yard, and left the quote in the kitchen with a note that I'd give the buyer the cash at closing to put the fence up, if I got a full price offer. The next four showings generated two offers, one of which now owns the house (and did put the fence up).

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 8:32AM
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I have two neighbors that have porch seating and gatherings from time to time. I enjoy the kind of neighborhood that socializes. I have my bbq in the back but I have a deck back there.
If the yard is neatly mowed,and no trash, I see no problem with having a bbq and seating and don't think it would affect real estate prices.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 8:41AM
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I think it will turn off many buyers. It's not just that it is messy, but it looks like people spend a great deal of time socializing in the front yard. Looks "loud" in too many ways to me.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 10:35AM
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I appreciate Weedy's insightfulness re: the cultural norms of working class or urban neighborhoods vs. middle class suburban.

Back in the day, before air conditioners were common, people pretty much lived outside most of the summer - sleeping on the porches or fire escapes even. It was safe to let the kids run all over because the adults too were outside hanging out. Now you go through suburbia and you dont see a soul anywhere - it's kind of eerie, like where is everyone???

I live in an old early 1900s neighborhood and there's lots of activity everyone is out on their porch or walking, biking, or driving by. It's a gentrified, revitalized, more middle class or "creative class" neighborhood (not poor or working class) but everyone lives this more open and sociable kind of lifestyle. I think something about the big porches and everything (hardware store, grocery, retaurants) being walkable is conducive to this more open lifestyle - instead of hiding in your car and driving into your garage and going into your house from the garage. Heaven forbid you should have to talk to your neighbor or have a raindrop fall on your head!

Anyway I agree it would pretty much depend on what is the norm in the neighborhood. There's nothing there that some well placed trees and shrubs in the front yard wouldn't fix. On the other hand, it really does seem odd that those folks wouldnt take their partying to the BACK yard - they've got the grill and everything out in front! It could be a real annoyance with a lot of yelling and smoking going on.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 3:37PM
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I would be a bit upset if all of the sudden after I purchased a home, thinking it was the quiet neighborhood I wanted, to have a constant party reappear after closing. I want to know what i am buying into.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 3:49PM
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Funny, I've never seen anyone grill in their front yard!

Yes it looks messy to me but I agree with others that it just "depends" on the neighborhood norms. Here the current trend seems to put two adirondack chairs in the front yard, preferably blue ones (not sure why!) Yet no one seems to sit in them. Front and back porches are where most activity takes place.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 3:51PM
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I read somewhere that in the old days, people who didn't have huge lots entertained in the front of the house because the outhouse was in the back.

In terms of noise, it is probably just as loud or louder when the party is in the backyard next to you as in the front yard opposite. So, I think it's more a social/cultural thing.

As i said, in my neighborhood, people have styled porches, but nobody ever sits there.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:01PM
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Speaking only for myself, YES! I've been in the market for months, and have to say I would drive right past and keep going....the obvious grill and multiple chairs, trash barrel out front, wide open front door, Yikes! ...says "run away" to me.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 9:18PM
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Well, if they are the only people in the neighborhood who have their bbq, table, umbrella, and chairs in the front yard, then it is probably a negative.

This post was edited by nosoccermom on Fri, Jul 11, 14 at 19:36

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:12AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Looking at the rest of the houses in the pic, and the state of the yard and drive of the house where the pic was taken, no, the house doesn't detract from the value. It fits into the neighborhood just fine.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:51AM
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That's pretty nasty, hollysprings.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:46AM
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Sophie Wheeler

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

The OP needs to worry more about her own home making a positive impression than someone else's house making a negative one. This is a typical working class neighborhood exactly like I grew up in. Homes where people actually use their yards is very common. It doesn't detract from the value of the individual homes at all, because it's normal for the neighorhood to bar-b-que or sun bathe or change the oil in the front yard. Soomeone looking to buy in a community like this will neither be shocked nor suddenly reduce their offer by 20K. Values are low, but relatively stable. Any sale will be more about how well the OP's house shows than anything else.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:38PM
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"Any sale will be more about how well the OP's house shows than anything else." No, not always. It would certainly turn me off. To each his own, and some will find it a problem. I walked away from a very nice house that showed beautifully due to the condition of the yard next door, full of junky kids toys and other stuff.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 6:20AM
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I wouldn't even go inside a house that had bad neighbors on any side.... just hit the gas and keep on driving - unless I were buying it to rent out.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 10:42PM
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Ditto karyn. Check the photo on google street view. If the junk is in that yard there, it won't do any good to ask the neighbor to hide their junk while your house is for sale. When I'm looking for a house, I look at the street view of every house for two blocks and zoom in on the satellite views too.

I've got a junky neighbor too and their street view photo is almost as bad as their actual yard today. So I'm screwed there if anyone looks, and I'm sure they will.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 1:31AM
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I agree with WHAT you say in your recent post but not HOW you said it initially. The driveway issues had been pointed out already.
Also, I have houses that look very much like this quite close to me, and while they may have been working class neighborhoods at one point, now they sell for 600K+. The neighborhood has changed, and nobody uses their front yard anymore for bbq-ing or oil changes.
The fact that the OP asked and that nobody else has stuff in their front yard indicates that it's not normal for this neighborhood either (of course, it might help, if a European make car were parked in front of the house to the right :)

Interesting point people make about google street view. Anybody know how frequently google updates their pictures?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 7:39AM
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Good question nosoccermom on how frequently Google updates their pictures. The neighboring house of the house I sold in December has street views from Google dated 2011. My house looks marvelous in those pictures, as does the listed house. Unfortunately, the people who bought my house either hate my old neighbor or just love to make a mess of things. For example; cutting the grass and leaving clippings all over, cutting around 2 ft. high weeds in the middle of the grass, allowing trellised vines to go wild and spill into the driveway, weeds growing over the foundation plantings, and three weeks of newspapers strewn over the yard, steps and porch, etc,...

Due to my experiences living next to the neighbors who have listed the house, I can only speculate the new neighbors are trying to kill the sale of the their house and IMHO are doing a splendid job of this.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 10:40AM
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I worry about the two houses directly across the street from us, too. They are not cared for and look bad, which is funny because most of the houses on this street are well cared for. Unfortunately the best looking houses mostly happen to be on my side of the street!

Think about it like this-- it would be MUCH worse for you if the house was abandoned and in foreclosure. I agree with the other advice you've gotten to focus on your own house, making it as amazing as possible, so potential buyers will overlook the neighbor (who isn't that bad, in my opinion).

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 1:26PM
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When I'm looking for a house, I look at the street view of every house for two blocks and zoom in on the satellite views too.

Interesting. In my area there are a lot of private roads, so you cannot see anything on street view. And satellite view doesn't yield a lot of information either, especially if the shots were taken when there were leaves on the trees.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 8:38PM
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Honest, you shouldn't get all caught up in Google's street views. I love Google as much or more than anyone (heck, it's my home page, I use it so much) but believe me, a LOT of their photos are very out of date.

They have an ongoing program asking for volunteers to drive around with a Google camera attached to the top of their car, which helps them to update their street views.

Frankly, the house across the street doesn't look that messy to me. I don't see unmown weeds 2' high, or discarded trash, or rusting cars set up on blocks. So what if their chairs don't match? A BBQ grill isn't an unusual sight, even if they don't use it much (heck, I don't use mine either).

Neighbors change all the time, in our area. Lots of rental homes. Yes, it brings down the value a little. But my home is not a part of my investment portfolio. To me it counts a lot more that I have great neighbors on both sides of me: considerate, thoughtful, willing to look out for others and help.

You can't appeal to EVERYBODY. You just want to appeal to the widest number of people possible. Best to concentrate on your own property. As pointed out, you can't control what your neighbors do. Stressing out about it is a waste of time and energy, better spent on your own sale.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 1:49AM
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I think it would scare off potential buyers. It's not just the barbecue grill and chairs, there is other junk there and seemingly no grass. If the grill and an outdoor eating area were clearly defined by a deck or patio it would be unusual, but acceptable (unless there are covenants prohibiting it). As it is now it looks trashy. And it begs the question, what must their back yard look like...... I agree with Jewel, above.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 7:39AM
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Original poster here!

Yes i do have cracks in my drive way that i need to put weed killer on to kill the weeds.
But still, my yard is very nicely kept aswell as the other people on the street. There are a lot of older couple that live on the street and they have very well kept yards with beautiful flowers and ornamental trees. The people who live in the house picture are always being loud, they were playing music loudly as i was planting in my yard yesterday.
There is also an older man who live in the house and is always sitting in his van in the driveway. It is kind of creepy.
they have also put up rebar stakes around there front yard with yellow string tied to each stake. No other house in the neighborhood does socializing in the front yard.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:21PM
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Can you talk to them and explain that it's not usual in the neighborhood to socialize in the front yard? Maybe offer them money to clean up and move their stuff to the backyard.
Is it a rental?
Are there too many people living in the house?
The older man may sit in his van because it's too noisy in the house.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 7:28PM
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for all the op knows the person that buys their house could have children and therefore have " junky toys" to put in the yard. bottom line here is the op can't tell the neighbors what to do with their yard so move on.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 7:49PM
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You can ASK the neighbors to clean up the front yard.
You can talk to the landlord if it's a rental.
You can even call the county to complain if too many people live in a rental.
Or you can even call the police if there's noise disturbance.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 11:00AM
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Every time I see people socializing/kids playing in the front yard like this I automatically assume that it is because they have a dog in the back yard and are too lazy to pick up the poo regularly.

It just looks trashy and low class to me.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:33AM
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CA Kate

I've been reading this thread since it was posted. I've bought and sold quite a few houses and I always pay attention to the neighbors/ neighborhood. For me, your neighbor's yard would have me driving right on by yours. I can usually fix yours, but can't do a thing about the neighbors.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 11:51PM
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I just bought a house, and agree with Westelle.
The type of neighbors is a big factor on house values.
We just bought a new house in a different part of town.
From what I have seen, the more you pay for a house, you get a different class of people as neighbors.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 7:53AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

It is very sad to see a town decline. Prior to our move here to a private road on county hillside land, overlooking an old town below, we were told what a nice little town it was in it's day. I shop in that town for groceries mainly. Go to the bank.

But, a law went in that criminals could not live within x number of miles from the place they committed their crime and served their time. Evidently the town below falls outside that mileage range, so many low class types began to rent homes there. They don't take care of these places.

You can drive down any street in the town, and see well kept homes right next to, and across from, people who park their dying cars and old trucks on their dying lawns. I feel sad for those who actually have pride of ownership. Property values are definitely affected by this.

There are many homes with tables and mismatched chairs outside... OH, and the daily garage sales! Where do they get so much stuff? Steal it?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 3:52PM
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