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How your Neighbours affect your Selling Prospects

Thursday, 12th January 2012

Categories: Sales Selling Tips

Author: Peter Barry

In a relatively small country with 70 million residents, it’s hard to live a solitary existence. Most people will have neighbours either side of their property – and possibly above and below as well, if you live in a flat. People generally tend to be friendly and amenable and, if you’re really lucky, your neighbours can end up being good friends. However, the flipside of the coin can involve a thin party wall and next-door neighbours who play music all night, pick arguments over tree roots and property boundaries, or who leave rubbish stacked outside their house. When it comes time to sell, you might not be able to keep your neighbours in check.

Disputes and disagreements
Plenty of people cite their neighbours as one of the main reasons for moving house. It seems incredible that someone living on the other side of a fence could create sufficient tension to force you to move. However, noise pollution, petty quarrels and bad feelings can escalate until there’s a tipping point where the upheaval of the move outweighs another night spent listening to heavy metal pounding through the walls.

Nothing to declare
The problem is that seller’s information forms require you to mention if you have an ongoing dispute with the neighbours. If the problem is serious enough to make you move, it should be declared and you might find yourself in trouble with the new house owners if an undeclared dispute continues after you’ve moved out. It’s a tough call: if you don’t mention problem neighbours, the issue might come back to haunt you; if you do mention it, most potential buyers are going to run a mile. If in doubt as to how much to divulge check with your solicitor. 

Deal with it
For smaller issues like noise pollution, there are ways to get around it, without resorting to heated arguments and legal action. If a polite word doesn’t have the desired effect, you could look into soundproofing certain walls or ceilings. It’s expensive, but not as much as you might think for a simple party wall. If the issue of sound crops up during the sale, you can prove that you’ve been proactive in sorting it out and good soundproofing should seriously dampen the noise levels.

If it is a simple case of a neighbour’s untidy front garden or build up of rubbish being off putting it could be worth asking if they wouldn’t mind you tidying it for them? With a busy schedule maybe they have not noticed how bad it appears to others. A few hours investment of your time could pay off in potential offers.

The other thing to bear in mind is that certain personalities clash. If you’re honest about your dealings with the neighbours to potential buyers, at least you have nothing to hide and it’s then up to them to take the call. It might be that they gel with the neighbours when they move in and don’t have any problems – perhaps it was just you they didn’t get on with!

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