Having great curb appeal is how you make an excellent first impression as you strive to sell your home. Naturally, then, you're busy mowing, raking, trimming and keeping your house looking as good as it possibly can. What can you do if your neighbors are less than sympathetic to your goal of selling your home, and they allow their own lawns to become overgrown and unsightly? Since this can deter potential buyers, it's a good idea to try to compensate to an unattractive home located near yours. Here are some tips.
You've heard the adage about catching more flies with honey than with vinegar, right? Put on a smile and simply talk to your neighbors. Let them know that you are trying to sell, and ask if they wouldn't mind getting their yard cleaned up to raise your chances of getting an offer. Be careful not to use inflammatory language, and don't be afraid to be specific about the problems that you're seeing. It's possible that your neighbor does not even realize that certain items are unsightly, so tread carefully and be polite.
If they cite a lack of time as a reason for not keeping up with yard maintenance, go ahead and offer to help. Even if you end up mowing their front yard yourself, it can make your own house look better. Just be sure to get their permission first; it's illegal in many places to trespass, even if you are doing it for a good cause.
Contact the Authorities
In some cases, asking nicely and offering to take on some or all of the work yourself is not enough. If, for example, you already have a poor relationship with your neighbor or they have indicated that they do not care about how their property is impacting your potential sale, you might need to go over their head. If you live in an HOA, check out the rules carefully to see if your neighbor is in violation. If so, go ahead and report it—anonymously if you desire.
If you do not live in an HOA, you can see whether your city has bylaws that would prohibit an unkempt lawn or items being strewn in the front yard. Again, go ahead and report any violations. Don't be afraid to follow up if the situation is not resolved; your city might not do anything unless enough complaints are brought up. Take some initiative to ensure your concerns are heard.
Put Up a Fence
You know what they say about good fences making good neighbors. If you are in an area where the regulations for lawn care are not strict (or where they are not enforced) and your neighbor refuses to compromise, it might be necessary to simply do what you can to block the view. Yes, your buyers will still see the neighbor's home when driving up, but if you can plant trees or put up an attractive fence, they might not care, since the view will be obstructed from the inside of the home. You can also spring for new sheer curtains, which will block the worst of it without blocking the sunlight.
Dealing with a messy neighbor can be a pain, but look on the bright side: You'll be moving soon, as long as a buyer doesn't mind too much. Do what you can on your own, then rally support from your HOA, your city, or even your other neighbors before giving up. If you have more questions or concerns, you can always start working with a real estate agent to find a middle ground and sell the house.