When the Neighbors are the Dealbreaker

Prospective Buyer: “We love the house. But we could never live across the street from that pornographic statue.”
Phil Dunphy: “Oh . . . huh . . . I never noticed it.”
Prospective Buyer: “Yeah . . . you can see it from inside when you look out the window.”
Phil Dunphy: “Oh . . . ahh . . umm . . are you talking about that one?” (points).
Prospective Buyer: “It’s quite large.”
Phil Dunphy: “I’ll take your word for it.”

—-Modern Family; “Marble With Wood” episode.

Unlike TV Realtor Phil Dunphy, I’ve never had a listing torpedoed by an obscene statue on the neighbor’s front lawn (this is Minnesota, after all).

But, I’ve had sales where the neighbor’s snowmobile(s)/kayak/under-repair-motorcycle was an issue.

Sugar vs. Vinegar

Step #1 is always a friendly, “We’d really appreciate it if you could relocate your [ _____ ] while our house is on the market.”

If the “For Sale” homeowner doesn’t feel comfortable making that request, it’s certainly appropriate for their agent to (note: a six-pack of beer and/or a helping hand can help grease the skids).

If that doesn’t work — depending on exactly how odious the item is — step #2 is in order.

Namely, contacting the local municipality to see if the offending item(s) violate any city ordinances.

See also, “More Phil Dunphy-isms.”

**The TV producers digitalized the statue’s offending parts.

P.S.: Next-door dumpsters can be a turn-off, too.

But, as I like to point out: a) they’re temporary; and b) they can indicate that the homeowner is doing a (major) remodel, which is good for adjacent home values.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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