Is it a crazy idea to offer helping to fix neighbors house?

centurymantraJuly 23, 2012

We have been thinking about attempting to sell our house to move into a slightly smaller home in a different area. We live in a nice area, but it is about two blocks in from the dividing line where it becomes primarily a student rental area. It's generally a pretty nice area, but I've watched the rentals declining quite a bit over the last year or so with pretty much zero attention from the landlords - most certainly due in large part to current economic conditions. The house right across from us in particular can be seen falling apart. The problem is the house is a notable eyesore due to the fact that is RIGHT in your face as you walk out the front door and the psychological impact is pretty signficant. With a bare minimum of attention, it could be given a drastic facelift. I have actually gotten the somewhat wacko idea to offer paying for 50-60% of a minor house facelift as I think it could actually pay off and could really effect a prospective buyers impresssion. Basically, the decrepit shutters on the windows just need to be taken off and discarded, the front door and window frames need to be scraped and painted and a little siding cleaning is in order. Maybe the brick facade could be sandblasted, or whatever they do to clean that. There is a handyman I work with that works quickly, and I could have him work a half day over there when he is at my house doing some work. The investment on my part would probably only be a few hundred bucks. Is this an inadvisable thing to even consider? The idea does seem kind of silly on one hand, but I have started actually considering this with some seriousness.

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Sophie Wheeler

Are you on speaking terms with the owner? Do you think you still will be on speaking terms after you infer that he's a slumlord? Do you care if it creates a hostile relationship and still nothing gets done? If you are willing to take a big $$ cut to get away from the neighborhood no matter what, and don't care about maintaining any relationships with the guy, then you don't have anything to lose. He might take you up on some free work for the house. Or he might get pissed and actively make it worse. So, if you aren't willing to take the price drop to sell regardless of if the house across the street looks like a crack house or a mansion, tread very very lightly here. You may end up with a hostile relationship and having to stay there.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 11:34AM
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HandyMac

I see your point---might actually make you money on your house. I'd ask an experienced realtor or agent---but it will need to be a person with different than normal ideas on selling.

First, you have to get the owner's permission---and it would be smart to have a contract.

Then you need to make sure permits are required or not. That might require the HO getting those, since I have no idea if a non business/associated person could pull such a permit.

Then there is liability and access.

Might work, but also might not.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 11:35AM
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centurymantra

Thanks for the input. I do realize that I would have to tread lightly and I don't want to infer that he is a slumlord or even overly negligent. Quite frankly, I wouldn't expect him to do much other than keep it up to code and livable, which it most likely is. It's actually not quite "falling apart" but has crossed the line into being severely drab and depressing. It's just frustrating to think how just a little bit of attention could go a very long way. I think I could be pretty diplomatic and convey it in a way that assures him I am not implying or expecting anything. Hard to say how it would go...something that I'll have to think about a bit.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 11:40AM
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sdello

you are selling and leaving. I can't see anything wrong with telling the owner that his house looks tired. Personally, I'd welcome anyone that wanted to improve my rental property for free. Just don't expect him to kick in. You can offer and ask him to contribute, but if declines either offer to pay for it all or let it go.
I know people are often jerks, but I can't see anyone intentionally making their own property look worse just to irk a neightbor. That's just plain foolish. Not that there aren't a lot of fools around.

FWIW people on this board are WAY to quick to start talking liability.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 5:29PM
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annzgw

Is the house a rental or does the homeowner live there?

I see nothing wrong with making the offer. As I read your post I thought of my DM's elderly friends who no longer have family to help them with upkeep of their home nor do they have the funds to pay someone to do the work.
In today's world there are too many people suffering from the economic crisis and I would be very surprised if such an offer were turned down.

If you think this is someone who may be a little sensitive about accepting help, then ask them to take part in whatever way they can.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 12:07AM
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