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Good Neighbors Make for Good Home Values: Tips for Maintaining, and Growing, Inter-Neighborhood Relations

Picture this…you’ve found the perfect home for sale.  Or maybe you’re about to list your immaculate house, complete with manicured lawn and just the right amount of space for the booming market.  You make your initial visit, perhaps even put in an offer.  As a seller, maybe you schedule a time to host an open house.  Everything seems to be going well…until the neighbor starts revving their Harley in the driveway and lets their dog run loose into your new yard, threatening potential buyers.

Whether buying or selling, a home is only as good as its neighborhood (a topic Homegather has touched on before).  Many new or longtime residents think that a less than optimal neighbor may just be a burden you have to live with.  Truth be told, a little bit of time and investment could have that relationship, and even unsightly or overgrown yard, on the mend.  So grab your negotiating with neighbors handbook, we’ve got some handy tips to tackle the trickiest, most neighborly issue of them all.

Dinner Parties, BBQ and Social Gatherings Galore

That old saying about a good libation being the world’s universal lubrication may be an exaggeration, but a cold beer and a dinner party or two can go a long way in creating good neighborly relations.  If you’re buying into a neighborhood, consider hosting a house-warming party and inviting your immediate neighbors or those two or three houses down on the block.  By setting the standard with a social and friendly relationship, you can potentially open the door to address those problem areas, such as their teenage son’s penchant for parties that go until 2 am.  At the very least you will create friends that are willing to keep an eye on your home while you’re out of town or are less inclined to rev their motorcycle as they pull up in the middle of the night.

About Those Overgrown Bushes

Setting the tone from the beginning certainly opens the door for more difficult conversations, but sometimes it helps to know your rights when it comes to items such as bushes, trees or other foliage creeping its way onto your property.  While local ordinances may vary, in most communities homeowners are well within their rights to chop down encroaching greenery.  Gardeners beware.  If your pruning efforts cause damage, say with the death of a bush or felling a tree accidentally onto someone’s roof, you may have to pay damages to make the situation right.

Dogs, Kids, Motorcycles and More

Compromise is a great tool, and establishing, and thoughtfully executing, your rights to your own space on your new or existing property is definitely a tool in the old homeowner utility belt.  But sometimes it takes a bit of heavy hitting to rectify a tough neighborhood situation.  In cases of obvious nuisance, it may be necessary to exert your legal rights to comfort in your own home in order to live a happy, noise and pollution free existence.

For issues such as incessantly barking dogs, local animal control can be called in after you’ve exhausted your attempts at neighborly negotiation.  Local noise ordinances apply to both party animals and plain old animals, so don’t be afraid to keep your neighborhood precinct on speed dial.  While these options may seem like last case resort, there may come a time when your personal comfort in your own home becomes more valuable than maintaining good, neighborly relations.  Plus, there’s always the option to stay anonymous.

Whatever option you choose to execute, know that as a homeowner you have both options for negotiation and inherent rights.  A house is more than just four walls, and ensuring your comfort, or that of the person buying your home, will keep you happy, safe and those rights well-protected.

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