WHEN THE WEEDS DO THE TALKING AND THE BUYERS DO THE WALKING
Buying a home is a big decision for anyone to make which is why there are so many factors that can increase and decrease the potential value of your property, one of them being your neighbour’s house.
I know people might say to mind your own business but in today’s world no one wants to buy a property next to a house that looks like a salvage yard. You probably worked hard to save for your down-payment and want that money to be spent on a home that brings you joy which includes the surrounding neighbourhood. This is why there are sought-after neighbourhoods and those to avoid.
Would you risk losing 5-10% of your house value because your neighbour can’t be bothered to keep their property in decent condition? Probably not because no one likes to lose money for nothing but this is the reality many home sellers face today which is why we want to move to the country where it’s just us and nature.
Ways to decrease the value of your home
When you decide to put your property for sale no matter where you live or how old your house is it’s important to have it in tip-top shape or risk your house value to decrease.
Smoking for example is one smart way to decrease the value of your home, another is to make sure the house is falling apart and that the property looks like it’s buried deep in the forest when it’s really in a nice neighbourhood. Add a refrigerator and some broken down vehicles to the mix and you’re house is ready to lose money when you put that for sale sign up. Not only that but your neighbours suffer as well when they do the same.
I have two recent instances where I’ve been subject to friends trying to sell their house but potential home buyers coming through the house have some not-so-nice things to say about their neighbours property. It doesn’t matter if the walk score for a property for sale is top-notch if everything about the house and the street don’t fit the home buyers ideal mindset they won’t put in an offer.
Really, who wants to deal with neighbours who can’t be bothered to take care of their property? Buying a house is not a one-time-deal and it requires daily, monthly and yearly maintenance. Saving a portion of your net income each month for these costs are very important when deciding whether you can afford to buy a home or not.
There are instances where homeowners fall on bad times but to let your property fall to pieces next to a homeowner or a bunch of homeowners who care for their property hurts the sale of homes in the area.
You may not think so and you may fight back but at the end of the day losing thousands of dollars because a house sits empty as the home owners had to move suddenly or can’t move because the house won’t sell isn’t fair.
This is why there are property standards set by municipalities in each city. They are called by-laws and each city has different by-laws based on what has been passed by city council or pressing issues brought forth in the community.
Almost every city has by-laws based on property especially with junk lying around, weeds, long-grass and old vehicles that just sit. Every time we visit a home business for services we use we notice the house next to hers is still for sale. The house is listed for just over $800,000 which is steady with the comparable prices in the neighbourhood.
Home Buyers Back Away
We had a look a the listing on Realtor.ca and the house is pristine inside and relatively new in the last 20 years. Unless there was something extremely wrong with the house we couldn’t find reason for why it wasn’t selling unless home buyers were coming in with low offers.
That possibly could be the case or maybe no offers are coming in at all. The house has seen a price drop of $40,000 in the past 4 months and the homeowners have moved away for new employment opportunities.
What is the reason this house is not selling?
Well, I can tell you for sure one of them is the neighbour whose property is a disaster zone. Every. Single. Time. we go around there are flyers, pop cans, weeds and junk lying around. You can tell the deck was built horribly and is falling apart and cracks on the side of the house were bandaged up and it shows.
The garage door is always open and that is another tornado zone on its own.
Who wants to see that when looking to buy a house next door?
The roof on the house is in desperate need of replacing, the windows and doors are filthy and you can start to see them rotting on the outside. In general the outside of the house looks like a disaster zone and the inside is no better but what goes on behind closed doors you’ll never know. What happens on the outside however, everyone can see. We see it so home buyers will see it.
It sucks for the seller of the house next door because there really isn’t much they can do about it apart from contacting the city to see if the homeowners are failing to uphold by-laws in the community. If not they have to suck it up and hope that home buyers come in and fail to notice what is going on next door. Once the house sale is signed they will make a run for it I’m sure.
Property By-Laws and Standards
If you are a home owner and not familiar with the by-laws in your community especially those pertaining to your home I suggest taking the time to read them online or to call your local city for more information.
I think every homeowner should be required to read and sign by-laws in the community at the time of home purchase so they are made aware of what the rules are. Sounds daft maybe but not all home buyers are experienced in the home buying process especially first time home buyers who are learning the ropes.
Property Standards Bylaw sets the standards for all properties in Toronto. All property owners are required to repair and maintain their property including owners of properties that are rented out.
- Residents are required to keep their lawns (including the City portion) less than 20 cm or 8 inches in height. Natural gardens which were planted to produce habitats for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, and are exempt from height restrictions.
- All parts of a property, including the yard must be kept clean and free from accumulations of litter, brush or garbage, and any conditions that are health or fire hazards.
- All stairs, verandas, porches, decks, loading docks, ramps, balconies, fire escapes and other similar structures and all treads, risers, guards, handrails, and supports have to be kept in a safe, clean, sanitary condition and in good repair.
- Unless garbage is properly stored awaiting collection day, property owners are required to keep their yard and any other part of their property clean and free from accumulations of junk, refuse, litter, etc.
Get rid of junk
Our neighbour currently has his house on the market and we worked as hard and fast as we could to get the fence up on once side of the property because of the junk.
During their first open house home buyers came through and two of the comments were not about the house but the neighbours property behind the house. As far as I’m concerned they can keep whatever items they want back there as long as it’s not causing anyone harm, health hazards or breaking by-laws. Plus, I don’t want to see it or have it decrease the value of our home or have us struggle to sell because no one wants to live next to a dump of a property.
The amount of stuff that gets tossed back that no longer works really needs to be sorted. The weeds are out of control, garden a disaster zone, deck has stuff lying around. It’s a mess but perhaps not to my neighbour who owns the property who claims to buy too much stuff.
My neighbour who is selling their house didn’t want potential home buyers to see that mess so we’ve put the new fence up and now it’s gone, at least from our view.
Whatever the reason is for keeping a property looking like drop-zone is just know that it does affect those who living in surrounding homes from every day enjoyment to real estate sales. Even though you may not be breaking the law perhaps a bit of upkeep might make you smile as well.
If you are a homeowner trying to sell a house and are dealing with potential home buyers turning up their nose at the property like our neighbour experienced you can do a couple of things.
- Politely talk to your neighbour especially if the problem is a safety concern. Let them know you are selling your house and ask them if they could use a helping hand tidying up. If you’ve experienced negative feedback from home buyers let them know that as well so they may think twice about cleaning up a bit. Perhaps offering a helping a hand might be a great idea as you don’t know their story but they might appreciate it.
- If after talking to your neighbour and they won’t sort anything out contact the by-law office only if they are breaking the laws. Other than that there’s not much you can do.
- Put up a big fence and try not to look at it if you are in the back garden.
The next time you are looking to buy a house don’t forget to keep a look out for the house in the neighbourhood to see if homeowners are maintaining them before you say, SOLD.
Discussion: Would you buy a house next to or behind an another home that looks like a junk yard or in disrepair? Share your comments below and any tips you may offer to those in this current situation.
At The CBB House
I got my hair-cut. That was our fun this week along with lots of muddy puddles.
It has been one of those weeks where you just want to get a job done but the rain steps in and stops you. I love the rain especially in the summer when the grass and plants need it the most. I just picked the wrong time of year to put a new fence up I suppose but it was important because it became a safety hazard for everyone after the storm did it’s wrecking job.
Other than that we have been dealing with more crisis on the home-front with my mother-in-law and it hasn’t been good. This year has been consumed with death and mental illness and it’s not bound to get easier for a while yet if at all. We’re hoping to take a little family vacation for a few days before our son starts school as we haven’t had the opportunity to do so at all this summer.
Boring week, I know but on the bright side we have US and that’s all that matters.
Have a great week.
CBB Fan Budget Brags
Send me a photo of your deals with the low-down on what you bought and how much you paid for it. Did you score some deals? Each entry gets you a chance to win gift cards at the end of the year. More than one prize!
I’m back again with more garage sale deals. After two slow weeks and missing last week I got back to it today!
- Tower of drawers $1!!
- Ladies winter boots and 3 Minecraft books $4 (asking was $5.50)
- School supplies $2 (asking was $3)
- Sprinkler $1.50
- Dove body wash gift set and hair gel $3
Total spent $9.50
Frugal Recipe Of The Week
Karissa over at Sweet as Cookie won me over with these Double Chocolate Brownies. What I look for in a brownie is that fudge like texture and chocolate goodness and this brownie looks like it has it all.
Karissa says that these are better than boxed brownies and you’ll never go boxed again. I’ll be adding this to my growing list of Pinterest Brownie finds. Enjoy.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tbs. vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Fall Gardening 101
Fall is around the corner which means colours, leaves and lots of pumpkins! When I came across this article about how to grow a pumpkin in containers I just had to read it.
My father-in-law would grow pumpkins in his garden and they were giant in comparison to what you purchase at the grocery store and some farms. I had never considered growing my own but since our son is a HUGE fan of Halloween and loves pumpkins I thought it might be a fun gardening idea to start with him.
Small pumpkin varieties like ‘Jack be little’, ‘Wee be little’, ‘Baby boo’, ‘Munchkin’, Pumpkin Hooligan’, ‘Mini-jack’, ‘Lil pump ke mon’ are most suitable for container gardening. However, you can also grow giant pumpkin varieties.
CBB Words of Wisdom
Saturday Search Term Giggles
Every week I get tens of thousands of people who visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. (SIC) means I’ve copied the text exactly and it has spelling errors.
Most times funny, Sometimes serious.
- How to make donuts like Tim Hortons– Please don’t. They are nothing near as good as they were when they were baked in-house.
- Short-cut of making money in Canada– Ha, good ol’ elbow grease wins every time.
- Sobey’s Returns– Sounds like a TV program, haha!
- Canadian Oopsie– I love this one, haha!!! You mean Oopsie Bread.
- My boyfriend’s family is rich– And…?
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