Selling Your Home? Your Neighbors Matter...

Being on good terms with your next door neighbors can be an essential part of selling your home.

Few sellers consider their neighbor’s home when preparing to sell their own. Why would they? Their biggest concern is getting the home painted, cleaned, landscaped and spotlighting all the main features of their home.

But all that effort could be for nothing, if just one of your neighbors doesn’t care much for appearances.

Imagine that you’ve spent time and energy planting flowers and weeding the front yard, painting the front door, and power-washing your siding. You’ve updated the kitchen and bathrooms and de-cluttered the home. You’re ready to put your home on market.

And then, when you step across the street to look at your home, all that stands out are the run down cars in your neighbor’s driveway, the non-existent lawn, the barking dogs, and the overall negative curb appeal.

If you find the neighbor’s home unappealing, imagine the potential buyer’s first impression. The fact is, your neighbor’s unsightly home can lower your own house’s curb appeal, no matter how much you’ve done to improve it.

The good news is, you have options — you’ll just have to plan ahead a bit. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your neighbors don’t cost you money when you sell your home.

Build good relationships

Even if you don’t have a plan to sell now, it’s good practice to maintain a friendly relationship with the neighbors. You never know when you’ll need them (like now).

It’s not uncommon for issues to come up during a sale. Problems regarding fence repair, retaining walls can bring a neighbor into your home sale process.

Having a good relationship with your neighbor from the beginning will help to ensure their cooperation when you need them at a critical time in the home sale.

Keep them in the loop

If you plan to sell your home in the near future, it’s a good idea to give the neighbors a heads-up.

You may have a nosy neighbor, but also people simply like to be "in the circle."

If you think you’ll need assistance from a neighbor for whatever reason, it will be easier to approach them if you’ve given them notice. Knocking on their door to tell them you’re selling and then requesting their cooperation right away won’t help you. Which is why you need to start early on.

Assist in paying for improvements

It will be difficult to ask your neighbors to reseed their lawn, pull their weeds, change their fence or paint their door to help your sale. Ask them to pay for it, and you can expect resistance.

If you need your neighbor to do some curb appeal work to help your sale, the money should come out of your pocket.

On top of that, you can’t force the neighbor to use your landscaper, painter or contractor, even if you’re paying for it. It’s their home, not yours, and you need to tread lightly.

Although many neighbors will appreciate the offer to spruce up their home on your dime, others may be hesitant. Bullying them to work on your timeframe or within your rules won’t help, and it could backfire once your home lists publicly.

With luck, a home sale can proceed smoothly without the need to involve neighbors. But if you hope to sell in the future, understand that your neighbors’ cooperation may be necessary.

If you plan in advance, open the doors of communication and offer to make things easy, you’re more likely to get what you want.