Most people use their yard or garden to reflect their personality and unique tastes. Whether it’s a well-manicured lawn and flower bed or an off-beat eclectic mix of garden gnomes, every block is sure to have one or the other.

So what happens when you decide to list your home, but your neighbor has some questionable yard “art” or random items on display? Studies show that lawn care and curb appeal have a big impact on surrounding property values. If your home is adjacent to a property with an issue, the impact can be huge and can literally drive buyers on down the road.

Many times the impact depends on how widespread the issue is. A yard that looks like a used car lot or the remodel that takes 10 years to complete? Both are eye sores that can lead to problems. Garbage cans or overgrown with weeds – annoying but manageable. Holiday lights left up until March? Frustrating. Maybe it’s a motor home or boat parked in the driveway out in front of the house. Flamingos, big foot statues, or excessive wind chimes. These can all raise red flags.

So how do you approach your neighbor? Here are some simple suggestions.

  • Talk to them about it. Handling the situation in a polite way is the best way to avoid tension or hard feelings. Explain you plan to put your home on the market and your real estate broker mentioned curb appeal for the neighborhood, especially the adjacent home, is important. You may be surprised how accommodating you neighbor will be.
  • Offer to help. If your neighbor is elderly or lacks resources, offer to pitch in and help. An afternoon spent mowing the lawn, clearing away clutter and sprucing up your neighbor’s yard can pay dividends when it comes to selling your own house.  Plus, it always feels great to help someone in need.
  • Reach out to the owner or Homeowner’s Association. If your neighbors are renters, and don’t respond to your polite requests, it may be time to reach out to the owner or the Homeowner’s Association (if applicable). They have a vested interest in the condition and ongoing maintenance of the property and may be unaware of the yard’s current state.

Sometimes despite your best efforts, your neighbors are just hard to deal with. Use your best judgment on taking any further steps, such as going to local authorities. Ultimately, you may decide keeping the peace and focusing on the curb appeal of your own home makes the most sense for you. Either way, you can look forward to meeting new neighbors once you move.


From the PrimeLending blog, written by