Worth it? Buying a house/neighbor with junky yard?

imahousenewbieJuly 1, 2010

Am considering putting an offer on a gorgeously landscaped house in a good area that's hard to find houses in (they get snapped up immediately!). It has an amazing series of terraces with fruit trees, viewing patios, and every plant and flower you can imagine...beautiful! Probably $20000 in landscaping. But the problem is that when you go up the gorgeous backyard hill to see the sunset, you see down into....

...the neighbor's backyard, which literally looks like a junkyard. There are various building materials, planks and concrete, random statues, boxing dummies, trash, weeds...you name it, it's packed with junk. The front of the house isn't too bad, just a little in need of paint. The guy who owns it also glared at us unnervingly when we stood in the driveway of the house for sale, looking at it until the realtor arrived. Not sure if it's because he thought we were trespassing, or if he's really unpleasant. Was afraid to ask.

And there's a small apartment complex directly across the street. I'm wondering if it's worth it to buy a house we love with these things possibly bringing down the property value or making it too hard to sell later on? Or being stuck with a neighbor who hates us if we report him? What do you guys think? Any advice?

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To each his own. If you can accept things the way they are, it might work well. If you decide now to expend efforts, of whatever nature, to change the neighbor whose property you do not like, then by all means never even visit that street again. Suppose that neighbor decides that he wishes to change you? I have a nice neat place where I live. My next door neighbor has a really junky place. I do not see it when busy inside house or when sleeping. He leaves my property alone and even cooperated when I needed a power line relocated to the boundary between us to make my property more useful to me. If things are acceptable as they are, OK. If not, move on. Siccing the authorities on neighbors often backfires.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 8:16PM
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You could let the owner and realtor know why you might not buy the property.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 8:23PM
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Do you know why the sellers are selling? Is he just a packrat or are there other objectionable behaviors?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 9:30PM
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I wouldn't be thrilled to have the apt building across the street. Might be an indicator of more such buildings to come.

Check with the local police on police calls to the next door neighbor's house - and the street in general.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 8:42AM
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I don't like either of the surroundings - however the messy yard I could deal with if it was an otherwise nice neighborhood. Apartments is not something I'd want and I'd pass on it unless it was just so cheap to make up for the location that it was too good of a deal to pass up and the apartments were of the higher end.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 9:55AM
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At my previous home, the guy next door had a yard such as you describe your prospective neighbor's. Junk pickup trucks, 6 beat-up snowplows, a 8' x 36" concrete pipe, a trash pile bigger than my garage and on and on and on. Also - he looked like the nastiest man alive.

But I really didn't know as I didn't engage with him for the first five years I was there.

When my wife died he was at the house as soon as the emergency squad was and helped to comfort my kids. I found out later he was the one who mowed my acreage when I wasn't home, left bags of his garden produce on the porch and did all he could to help me out. And slowly, verry slowly he started to clean his 'treasures' up.

My point is, yeah, his place is a dump. But so what? Maybe he is a good guy - nasty looks and all. You don't know unless you know. Ask the other neighbors, find out what you can about him. For me, the shabby yard would not be the deciding factor.

Truly, I'd be more worried about the apartments across the street.

Good luck

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 10:22AM
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Those two conditions -- the apartments and poorly maintained yard) will absolutely bring down the value of the attractive property and make it harder to sell. No doubt about it. And probably why the house you like is as affordable as it is...

So is the neighbor a 'diamond in the rough'? Maybe some of the other folks on the street can tell you. And if you're serious about the house, I'd knock on a few doors and ask. And knock on this guy's door as well (but ask him about the apratments and apartment tennants).

If the neighbor is a dangerous and nasty creep, no amount of landscaping will make this house a home you love. But if he's more like Doc's neighbor, (and was only glaring because you were 'trespassing') -- then you may have found a real bargain.

But do bear in mind that the apartments aren't going away, that the tennants aren't in your control, and that more could follow.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 10:52AM
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"And there's a small apartment complex directly across the street. I'm wondering if it's worth it to buy a house we love with these things possibly bringing down the property value or making it too hard to sell later on? Or being stuck with a neighbor who hates us if we report him?"

I think you should walk away. You already have reservations, are making plans to report a neighbor you know nothing about and are being rather judgemental about the other neighbors also who you know nothing about. You would be a very unwelcome neighbor I suspect.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 3:23PM
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I have experience buying a property next to a junk pile. Nicest people in the world. It's still a junk pile, and it is the only property I have ever owned that has proved difficult to sell.

Never buy a single family home anywhere near an apartment building. It's a sure fire way to lose money, unless you get it for a steal in the first place.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 11:03PM
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Both of the reasons you posted about would make me not put an offer on this house. You can't do anything about the apartment building across the street which does bring down the property value of the home and if you try to do something about the messy yard neighbor that may only cause you more trouble. A problem in the front and a problem in the back and the house in the middle of it. Doesn't sound like a good location to me. I'd pass. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 9:21AM
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The junk yard and apartment are irremediable defects.

They will likely still be there when you try and sell, and give your buyer the same issues you are having now.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 4:31PM
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I think you have to ask yourself how irritated you would be every time you walked up your back yard hill to view the sunset and saw that horrible yard. Why buy a house where you know there is a source of irritation you cannot fix? Do you need more irritation in your life? I once had a neighbor like that and they were as nasty as their yard. I also lived very close to an apartment complex. It was fairly large and the police were called there daily. Lots of sirens and unsupervised children who always seemed to want to play with the children in our subdivision. It was a pain sometimes.

Unless you adore this house, are willing to overlook the nasty yard, realize that the apartment complex isn't a good ting, and are willing to keep up all that landscaping, I'd pass.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 6:19AM
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No matter how much I loved a house, I wouldn't buy it as described. I would chalk it up to wishing that beautiful home with the gorgeous yard was in a different location. Alas, it isn't and I it were me, I would pass.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 4:04PM
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Pass. If the neighbor is irritating you already, imagine how you'll feel after living there for a couple of years.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 7:15PM
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Also, depending on where you are the neighbors yard could attract rodents and they could become an issue for you. I might still go for it if it were not visible from my peaceful yard, but it seems like this is. Also, I think talking to other neighbors is a good plan. I spoke to a neighbor once when I was looking at a house with a shared driveway, and he was all too willing to go into the problems with the neighbors and the driveway, some flooding, etc. You can learn a lot from talking with other neighbors. I don't see the apartment as an issue unless it is unusual for where you are. In my town there are little buildings scattered among million dollar houses, and it isn't a deal breaker for anyone. In certain suburban settings it is a huge no. I think the question is if there is something that is unfixable, how much does that detract from your enjoyment and the value of the house. There is a good price for almost anything. Since houses here sell around the million dollar mark, a lower price can sell almost anything. A house a few miles from me just went on in the low 800,000s for a four bedroom with about 2,500 feet. It backed up to the freeway, and a very, very busy freeway at that, 65 MPH speed limit and tons of traffic and use. It sold in 2 weeks even in this market because of the price. If you can get a great deal on it, and move if it doesn't work, it might make sense, but if you are paying close to the comps for other properties without these defects I wouldn't buy something that has defects out of your control.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 8:09PM
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I agree w/Brickeye. Two irremediable defects. Nope. Not me, not at any price.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 1:11PM
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