How to Handle Bad Neighbors When Selling Your Home in Boston

Nosy neighbors

Selling your home can be stressful enough even when things go well. And when you have to contend with “bad neighbors,” it only gets worse. You’ve invested effort and expense in getting your home looking its absolute best for a quick sale and the best price possible – making repairs, cleaning and decluttering, staging, and more.

Unfortunately, the definition of “bad neighbors” changes from person to person. For some, it’s the family with a crying newborn who keeps you up at night. To others, they are the renters in Brighton or Southie who constantly party until after midnight.

No matter how you define a bad neighbor, it can add a new element of terror when selling your home. Lucky for you, there are things you can do to protect yourself. It doesn’t have to be the nightmare scenario we often see in movies – where the bad neighbors cause so much havoc that your home sale falls through and you lose out on your dream of stress-free living.

So how do you navigate the nosy neighbors, neighbors with homes in disrepair, and neighbors with overgrown yards that can kill your chances of a sale? What do you do?

Here are some ideas about how to handle bad neighbors when selling your home in Boston by examining some specific types of bad neighbors.

The Neighbor With the Overgrown Yard

Perhaps the most common type of bad neighbor in the suburbs that hurts your chances of selling your home 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.

If you’re selling your home in the suburbs and you’re in this situation, 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 local municipality to remedy possible code violations if they exist.

You could also consult with us at NextHome Titletown Real Estate about ideas on how to handle this kind of neighbor. It’s a situation that we have dealt with many times before. To discover more, call (617) 657-9811.

The Neighbor With the Ugly, Run-Down Home

There’s nothing worse than a run-down, boarded-up home. It seems like the bad neighbor from hell – always there, and you can’t escape him. Because when you walk out your front door, all you see is his dilapidated eyesore staring back at you.

Selling your home in Boston can be quite a challenge when there’s a run-down building right next door or across the street because everything you’ve done to enhance your home’s curb appeal will be counteracted by the run-down home.

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 home. It really is a win-win scenario. Agents have experience in such a tricky situation, so contact a Boston agent at (617) 657-9811.

The Loud Neighbor

And, of course, every neighborhood has at least one loud, noisy resident. If you’re a homeowner who lives in an apartment, attached duplex, or two-family home, chances are you’ve experienced this at some point.

Barking dogs, loud music, wild parties, construction projects, or whatever – we’ve all heard it, especially in the city. And it has to be addressed and dealt with before your open house and showings if you want success selling your home in Boston.

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 now the biggest hurdle – the difficult neighbor. You know to type – the crazy or hostile neighbor who presents the greatest challenge to your selling your home in Boston.  

There are two kinds of neighbors when you sell your house: the ones who are accommodating and won’t make the sale difficult, and the bad neighbor who can cause delays in closing or potentially kill a deal all together.

Technically, this kind of neighbor 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.

So time your home-selling activities appropriately. If, for example, your neighbor acts up only in the evenings, schedule your showings for earlier in the day. Just do everything you can to ensure potential buyers will never encounter this neighbor.

Legal Action: The Last Resort

Have you ever had a neighbor who constantly parks too close to your driveway, drops their junk in your yard, or is damaging your property? If you can’t resolve any issues directly with your neighbor, then call a lawyer. Remember that legal remedies are always your last resort and sometimes they’re just not possible due to complex laws in the city or state where you live.

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

So when talking and everything else have 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.

Laws in your state may vary, but you can generally start by filing a complaint with your city’s police department or Housing Authority. The complaint should cite your specific concerns and request that the landlord address the issue. If this doesn’t work, consider hiring an attorney to take action on your behalf.

Rely on Your Boston Agent

So there are plenty of things you can do to handle bad neighbors when selling your home in Boston. And most of them are as simple as talking to the problem neighbors. But sometimes that just isn’t enough. That’s where our real estate agents at NextHome Titletown can be of assistance and help you avoid taking the legal route.

So if you’re selling your home in Boston and have problem neighbors to contend with, contact us today at (617) 657-9811 to find out what to do.


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The property listing data and information set forth herein were provided to MLS Property Information Network, Inc. from third party sources, including sellers, lessors and public records, and were compiled by MLS Property Information Network, Inc. The property listing data and information are for the personal, non commercial use of consumers having a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing listed properties of the type displayed to them and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties which such consumers may have a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing. MLS Property Information Network, Inc. and its subscribers disclaim any and all representations and warranties as to the accuracy of the property listing data and information set forth herein.
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