When Neighbors Don't Get Along...

June 25, 2013

Sixty percent of Americans say they have a problem with a neighbor, according to a new study by Harris Interactive and State Farm Insurance. 

Some of the complaints stem from unfriendly neighbor behavior that has even sparked a Web site, NeighborsFromHell.com, where home owners can vent. But most neighborly nuisance complaints are from annoying pets, unkempt yards, foul odors, and even dangerous trees, according to other surveys, which shows such issues can even hurt neighboring home values.  

For example, John Bredemeyer, a real estate appraiser in Omaha, Neb., told CNNMoney that a home in the area sold for 8 percent less than comparable homes mostly because of the neighbor’s large, snarling dogs barking next door. 

CNNMoney offers up advice to neighbors who aren’t getting along like scheduling a time for the neighbor to come over to your house and “see his ugly satellite dish from your perspective.” The article also recommends researching local ordinances and state laws before any conversations with neighbors to find out whether they’re even breaking any rules. 

When confronting neighbors on an issue, experts recommend focusing the problem on how it affects you by using comments that contain “I” and “you.” Such an approach can make your comments better received and avoid the neighbor from jumping into confrontational mode. 

Experts also say it’s important to try to see it from your neighbors’ perspective too. Maybe your neighbor is undergoing an illness or facing a situation that is causing him to take care of his lawn less. The situation may be temporary or he may need help. 

Source: “Is a Neighbor Hurting Your Home's Value?” CNNMoney (June 24, 2013)

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