How to be a “bad neighbor” and lower neighborhood home values at the same time

Almost every neighborhood has a “bad neighbor” or two.  Nearby residents, and especially home owners, roll their eyes, mutter quietly and often say nothing to the offender so as to avoid a blowout with the “problem neighbor”.

If you’re buying a home, or moving into a new neighborhood, you may not know about these bad apples and their nuisances.  But sometimes there are clues – things right out in front that are hard to miss.  Even where there aren’t any hints of trouble, you can always knock on doors and ask about the area.  Problems can be visual, auditory, olfactory or other. Ask – people will talk! A list of things which annoy the neighbors and possibly lower home & property values follows below.

A list of “bad neighbor” behaviors: bad sounds, bad sights, bad smells top the list (more…)

Buying and selling homes with pet odors, stains and other issues

Dog in Los GatosHome buyers confident about the property they’re purchasing will pay more, and worried buyers will pay less.  That’s a basic principle that home sellers in Silicon Valley will want to understand when making their houses, condos or townhomes “show ready”, since most home sellers are anxious to net the most money with the sale.

Whether it’s dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, or any other furry friend, animals in the home can cause selling problems.  Most frightening to home buyers is the threat that some currently undetected (or under represented) issue will loom larger a month or two (or later) after close of escrow. Pet stains on carpeting are not a huge deal, but they are annoying to find if furniture is moved and the discoloration is revealed. Bigger issues are at hand.  Think fleas.  And even more, think odors.

Once I had a Cambrian Park (San Jose) listing where at one time there was a dog on the property who seemed to like to urinate into the heat register and the ducting which led to it.  Although it didn’t smell all year, apparently the first time each winter that the heater was turned on, it created quite a stench.  My seller did disclose it, and had it cleaned, and also found a product to sprinkle in the impacted area that appeared to have neutralized it.  Fortunately, it was exactly one location.  Had the above measures failed, that part of the duct and the ” boot” that connects to the register could have been replaced. (more…)