Real Estate Q&A for May 18, 2014
We have been watching a couple of homes that have been on the market for several months and we would be happy with both, but we really do like one of them quite a bit better than the other. Neither are perfect, but the one we like the most has two homes on the street, one right next door, that look like homes that we have seen when looking at foreclosures. The next door neighbor has junk everywhere and last weekend had two cars parked on the front lawn virtually all day Saturday. We are very interested in the home, but have big concerns about the impact these two homes are having on the neighborhood. What do you recommend? Thanks.
— Donna, Grand Junction
Great question and you have good reason to be hesitant about purchasing if the next door neighbor looks like a dump. There is no question that the surrounding properties have a direct impact on any home. If the neighbors do a poor job of taking care of their property, it brings all the other homes values down in the neighborhood. The questions I would have are, is it a relatively isolated incidence? Or is it a broader problem where there is a lack of a home owners association or an HOA that lacks the authority or structure to enforce the covenants and keep the neighborhood looking its best.
I would recommend you have your Realtor pull a copy of the neighborhood covenants for you to look over and find out exactly what things are and are not allowed. I would certainly guess that parking of cars on the front lawn would not be in the provisions designed to bolster property values. Home owners associations are designed to protect values and help enforce a consistency of product which leads to the solid maturity of a subdivision. If the neighbors appear to be in violation of the covenants then you could always contact the HOA and find out why the property is apparently in violation and what steps are they taking to get them into compliance? Don’t be afraid to investigate and ask hard questions, after all you are considering making a significant investment into the neighborhood. I am making the assumption that there is an established HOA, if there is no HOA then all bets are off and what you see is what you get.
One of the first things I do when looking a home is to look at the neighbors. Good neighbors can help make you money and bad ones will no doubt cost you money. I would be very hesitant to invest my money in a home that has a poorly kept home next door. Keep in mind that this could also change. Should the neighbor move out or go through a foreclosure, then there is the significant likelihood that the home would be cleaned up and updated by a new owner. Find out how long they have been there etc…. Do your due diligence and do your best to evaluate their long term viability of them continuing to own the home.
To sum it up, make sure you do your homework and remember this is not just going to be your home, but it will also be an investment in your family’s future. Location is key, not just the physical location, but the location of eye sore properties nearby, so be careful of investing where you do not feel like the neighbors are equally invested. My bet is that if you are patient you will find a great home in a wonderful neighborhood and not have to be concerned with the surrounding properties. Hope this helps.
The Kimbrough Team
REMAX 4000 Inc.