What to Do When Neighbors List Their Home For Sale

When a neighbor’s house goes on the market, there can be important implications for you. Here’s what to do when neighbors list their home for sale.

1. Document important disclosure items

As the saying goes, good fences make good neighbors. But sometimes those on the other side of the fence don’t cooperate, and unresolved  conflicts tend to arise when one of the homes goes on the market.

Have a property line dispute or an issue with a broken fence and want to make sure the new buyer knows about it? While sellers in most states have a duty to disclose issues to potential buyers, not all areas require this. So do your new neighbor-to-be a favor and alert the seller’s agent to anything the buyer needs to know about your neighbor’s property.

2. Use the open house to check out your own home

The open house is your chance to check your home’s paint job from the neighbor’s yard or simply see your home from a different perspective.

At a busy open house in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood, an open house visitor made a somewhat obvious beeline for the back of the house. He immediately got on the phone, and was clearly communicating with someone about where he was standing, and giving orders to move left and right. It turned out this visitor lived in the home behind and was checking to see the neighbor’s view into his home.

3. Learn the market in real-time

Just like when you were a buyer, knowing about the area and types of homes in the market is a good move for any homeowner. Take a neighboring home for sale as an opportunity to see what the market bears. You can also learn about the latest trends in home design.

Speaking to a real estate agent can help inform you of changes to property taxes or how assessments are changing in your town. A smart real estate agent, working their listing, will be an invaluable resource to would-be clients down the road. Leverage their experience when your neighbor sells.

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