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Neighbors That Can Diminish Property Values: Who Are They?

During the past few years the property market has taken some massive hits and values have plummeted in many regions of the country. For those looking to put their home on the market this problem has a dramatic effect on the selling price they will list their home for. On top of this many folks may also have neighbors whose property may impact their ability to ask more than they are able to. Not only is a neighbor’s property going to have an effect on adjacent property values but also the neighborhood as whole.

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Neighbors who do not take care of their yard or paint their house are just the tip of the iceberg. Having a commercial or municipal facility within the area can also bring down property values for everyone. Prisons, landfills, junk yards, funeral homes, abandoned industry are just a few of the “bad” neighbors you may be living in close proximity to. These properties can diminish the market value of everyone’s property by as much as fifteen percent.  

While there is no definitive description of whom or what makes for a bad neighbor most real estate professionals would simply say anyone or anything that prospective buyers are turned off by; someone who does not care about the neighborhood or the other people who live there is a bad neighbor. Properties that look run down and are not take cared for in the most basic way such as yard work and gardening, trash and junk removal, peeling paint or dilapidated siding, a damaged roof, or abandoned vehicles are just some of the detractors that can bring down everyone’s property values. Bad neighbors are also the kind who make a lot of noise, have barking dogs and stray cats in the yard, or a lot of traffic coming and going.

A bad neighbor can also be commercial or municipal. Landfill projects are a big concern to everyone. They can smell bad, look unsightly, attract a lot of noisy birds, stray pets and rodents, and they can also impact the aquifer and water supply of a neighborhood. Studies show that a landfill can diminish the values of surrounding properties by as much as six to ten percent.

Some neighborhoods are home to what the government has termed Superfund Sites. These are landfill or industrial areas that have been found to be highly contaminated sites that will bring down values an additional fifteen percent if your property is within a couple of miles.

Another municipal neighbor who brings down local market values is power generating facilities. Depending on the type of facility it is, ranging from coal to nuclear powered, a plant within two miles can bring down values between four and seven percent.

Correctional and detention centers and youth facilities are another detractor that affects property values wherever they are. Prospective buyers are very concerned about the risk of crime and danger to their families that these types of places may encourage. Having a sex offender nearby is another aspect of the crime element that people are wary of. It is believed that living near a sex offender will decrease values by as much as nine percent and that selling a property in one of these locations can take ten percent longer.

If you live in a condo or housing development where your neighbors may be delinquent on paying their fair share of fees or dues, this may affect values also. The less money there is for upkeep, and the worse a development or condo looks, the less value it will have, and the harder it will be to sell.

Many folks have lost their jobs, had salary cut backs or just find it hard to keep up with expenses since the financial crunch began. Some have gone into default and finally foreclosure. The more foreclosed homes there are within an area the more everyone’s property values will drop. If a foreclosed home is within 250 feet of one that is not, despite having kept up with their payments, a recent university’s study shows that the other home will have dropped in value as much as twenty-seven percent.

It is known that for families looking to buy a new home neighborhood schools are a major concern: as much as seventy-five percent of all prospective buyer’s list schools at the top of their list of requirements. In municipalities where a school has been shut down because of a lack of funding the neighboring property values have suffered more than just a little.

How Can You Combat Problem Neighbors?

One way to increase the value of your home is to have the best landscaping you can afford. The better your lawn, shrubs and walkways look the more value will be retained. Depending on how far you go with landscaping your property you may be able to increase its value by five or ten percent. When it comes to a buyer’s first impressions the yard and surrounding area will set the mood.

If your neighbors are law abiding and not breaking any local codes or ordnances you may not have much recourse, but you can petition the local authorities to review the situation and help out, however in many cases there is not much anyone can do.

If your problem is with a residential neighbor there are a few things you can do to try and rectify a bad situation. Many cities and towns have strict rules and ordnances regarding the appearances of homes and yards, signage and displays, abandoned vehicles and also pets and animals. It is recommended that the first approach would be to contact the offending homeowner and politely ask them to correct the problem. If this does not work then you would need to file a complaint with the proper public officials and let them resolve the matter if they can.

If you happen to live within the jurisdiction of a homeowners or condominium association, they can first approach the offending party and if there is no immediate result they can probably deny these owners community privileges to try to encourage them to conform to the community rules and help to maintain everyone’s home values.

In regard to city and town landfills, power plants, correctional facilities and other less-than desirable commercial-sized neighbors it is more than likely that they comply and that there was a thorough review of their property usage before they arrived; it is in the public’s interest for them to be where they are. Everyone agrees that many of these places are not desirable but they must be located somewhere and you will have to accept that as a fact of life.

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