How to Handle Bad Neighbors When Selling Your House in Shoreline, WA.

As a homeowner, there are a variety of steps you can take to prep your home for sale. Cleaning, organizing, making repairs, staging, etc… are all things you can control. Unfortunately, even if your home is in perfect condition, there are some things outside your control that can impact your sale. One of those external factors is your neighbors.

You’ve invested effort and expense in getting your house looking its absolute best for a quick sale and the best price possible – making repairs, cleaning and decluttering, staging, and more. When you think of your neighbor, is it really an issue you personally have with them or does it have more to do with something else? Maybe it’s their home (which is in total disrepair), or their dog (which never stops barking and digging holes), or their newly found love of loud and obnoxious projects. Whatever the issue is, there are ways of handling a bad neighbor, and all of them start with better communication. But nosy neighbors, neighbors with houses in disrepair, and neighbors with overgrown yards can kill your chances of a sale. So what do you do? Well, let’s see how to handle bad neighbors when selling your house in Shoreline by examining some specific types of bad neighbors.

The Neighbor With the Overgrown Yard

Perhaps the most common type of bad neighbor that hurts your chances of selling your house in Shoreline is the one with the overgrown, unkempt yard. Tall grass, untrimmed shrubs, and overgrown beds are eyesores that can attract pests and drive away buyers. Potential buyers will, naturally, assume that if the neighbor’s yard is like this now, it will be the same in the future.

For selling your house in Shoreline in this situation, here’s what industry pros recommend . . . 

First, try “to have a friendly conversation with them about their lawn . . .You could even offer to pay to have a lawn service keep the yard trimmed while your home is listed . . . It may not seem fair, but it could keep potential buyers from looking elsewhere. If they’re financially strapped, ask if they have an older child (who could cut the grass), and offer to give the child a gift card if they can take care of the yard . . . If those options don’t work, contact your homeowner’s association or local municipality to remedy possible code violations, he suggests.”

You could also consult your Shoreline agent about ideas on how to handle this kind of neighbor. It’s a situation your agent will have dealt with many times before. To discover more, call (206) 578-3438.

The Neighbor With the Ugly/Run-Down Home

Then there’s the neighbor(s) with the ugly, run-down house(s). Selling your house in Shoreline can be quite a challenge when there’s one of these next door or nearby because everything you’ve done to enhance your home’s curb appeal will be counteracted by the run-down house.

Anger may be your first automatic response, but keep in mind that there many extenuating circumstances. This neighbor, for example, may have fallen on hard economic times (which is certainly possible today) or may be suffering from a medical condition such as heart disease or depression. So your neighbor may actually want to keep up her home but is unable to do so.

So one thing you can do is simply be a good neighbor by offering your assistance. This sends the message that you care about the neighborhood’s appearance and that you actually care about the neighbor and are on her side. Aggressive confrontation is almost always counterproductive.

In fact, in order to make a sale, sellers have gone so as offering to split the cost of making the necessary repairs to a neighbor’s house. It really is a win-win scenario. Agents have experience in such a tricky situation, so contact a Shoreline agent at (206) 578-3438.

The Loud Neighbor

Barking dogs, obnoxious music, construction projects, and things that sound like they might be bomb-testing in the backyard, anything that disturbs your daily peace and quiet won’t go unnoticed by a buyer. Whatever the noise scenario that’s happening in your neighborhood, try and find a way to chat with your neighbor about it before the open house.

So, as before, begin by talking to your neighbor, but be strategic and have your chat at the best time. You shouldn’t approach the neighbor with a complaint about the noise while the loud activity is going on. Choose a different and quieter time when you’re cooler and more in control and your neighbor will be more receptive to your suggestions and requests. 

In fact, experts recommend that you kick off such a conversation by first apologizing for any noise you may have made that disturbed your neighbor. You may then find that the problem is really just one of scheduling, and your neighbor may be willing to make some adjustments. Non-aggression will be your best strategy here.

The Difficult Neighbor

So we come the difficult neighbor – the crazy or hostile neighbor who presents the greatest challenge to your selling your house in Shoreline.  

Really, though, this kind of neighborhood is a problem for you only if they’re being difficult during your showings or open house. Otherwise, it doesn’t really affect you much as a home seller.

But really, the thing to remember is that just like the encroaching neighbor, this type of neighbor only becomes a problem if they’re doing these things during your open house events. So be strategic. If they’re more active at night, throw a morning event. If it’s a truly bad neighbor, and the previously mentioned communication tactics aren’t going to work, then it’s better to try and avoid any possibility of your buyer ever running into them.

Legal Action: The Last Resort

Ultimately dealing with bad neighbors, legal action may be your only recourse for selling your house in Shoreline. But it should be used only as a last resort.

So when talking and everything else has failed, here’s what you should do to ensure success. “If you are going the legal route, it helps to document the issue. Keep notes of the dates you spoke to your neighbor and what was said. Take photos of any damage or problem but don’t trespass on your neighbor’s yard.”

Rely on Your Shoreline Agent

So there are plenty of things you can do to handle bad neighbors when selling your house in Shoreline. And most of them are as simple as talking to the problem neighbor(s). But sometimes that just isn’t enough. That’s where your Shoreline agent can be of assistance and help you avoid taking the legal route.

So if you’re selling your house in Shoreline and have problem neighbors to contend with, contact us today at (206) 578-3438 to find out what to do.

Emily Cressey

Emily Cressey is a real estate broker residing in Lake Forest Park, WA who services the Greater Seattle area including Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Lynnwood, Kenmore, Bothell and Edmonds, WA.

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