Bad neighbours can make it hard to sell your
| Feb 2, 2013
Bad neighbours are not just annoying, they can also cut into your property value by as
much as 10%, says a leading U.S. appraisal group.
The Chicago-based Appraisal Institute, the largest professional association of real estate
appraisers south of the border, says everything from annoying pets, unkempt yards,
unpleasant odors, loud music, dangerous trees or poorly maintained exteriors can cut
into the value of your home.
The group suggests before you buy make multiple visits at different times on various
days of the week to try to get a flavour of what’s going on in the neighbourhood and
whether it could impact the value of your potential home over time.
“I’ve seen many situations where external factors, such as living near a bad neighbour,
can lower home values by more than 5% to 10%,” said Richard Borges, president of the
Appraisal Institute. “Homeowners should be aware of what is going on in their
neighborhood and how others’ bad behaviors could affect their home’s value.”
The group has some suggestions for homeowners dealing with bad neighbours,
including talking to others in your area and approaching the bad neighbour together.
You can also look up any planning or subdivision restrictions to see if the neighbour is
committing an offense. If all else fails, calling a lawyer could be cheaper than the loss in
the value of your home.
Potential homebuyers also should be aware of a property’s proximity to commercial
facilities, such as power plants and funeral homes, as these also can negatively affect a
home’s value,” the group adds.
Elton Ash, the Kelowna-based regional executive vice-president of Re/Max of Western
Canada, said he has seen first hand the value of property sink because of neighbours. It
happened in a rural neighbourhood in British Columbia where a neighbour had virtually
turned his property into a junkyard — with the township finally stepping in to clean it up
because homeowners couldn’t sell their property.
“A motorcycle gang could move next door, that’s an extreme example,” said Mr. Ash.
“But neighbours parking a couple of cars on the lawn is not going to help your home
value. The old saying that fences make good neighbours has more truth than you might
He says an appraiser will lower the value put on a home because they almost have to or
face the wrath of the bank that is loaning out money based on that valuation. The bank
needs to know it can get its money back if the loan goes bad and the home has to be
Keith Lancastle, chief executive of the Appraisal Institute of Canada, said he doesn’t
have data to prove that neighbours could lower the value of your property. He said an
appraiser would make a note on an assessment if he felt there might be a concern in the
“When an appraisal is done on specific property it looks at a number of factors in terms
of assessing the value,” he said, adding it’s doubtful a Canadian appraiser would knock
down a value based on a specific problem with a neighbour. “Some of this is very
Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603