Monday, July 8, 2013
A recent survey by Harris Interactive and State Farm Insurance found that 60% of Americans have a pet peeve with someone who lives nearby. Certain next-door nuisances -- such as annoying pets, unkempt yards, foul odors, and dangerous trees -- could reduce your home value by 5% or more, according to the Appraisal Institute. So what's your recourse? Try working with your neighbor but before you approach them, have a game plan: Temper your temper. "The worst thing to do is march over when you're angry and demand action," says Mary Greenwood, author of How to Negotiate Like a Pro. Take 24 hours. Give notice. Don't try to work this out over the hedgerow. Schedule a time to chat. Maybe even invite the offender to your house, a friendly gesture that also allows him to see his ugly satellite dish from your perspective. Do your homework. Before the conversation, research what state laws or local ordinances apply, in case your neighbor needs extra persuading. Keep a log. A record of your dispute can help refresh your memory should you eventually go to the authorities or to court, says Emily Doskow, co-author of Nolo's Neighbor Law. Home prices have been rising steadily all year due to strong demand and a limited supply of quality homes on the market. You need to make sure that you are able to enjoy this uptick in home values by limiting any objection a potential buyer might have due to neighbor issues.