We’ve all seen them: Homes that stick out like ugly sore thumbs because their owners are careless or nowhere to be found. Not only do these decrepit homes spoil an otherwise tidy thoroughfare, they are a burden on your listing price! After all, what good is it if your home is next to the house from The ‘Burbs?

Help get an offending house into tiptop shape with the following tips:

Situation 1 – the house is occupied

• Offer the neighbor a hand with some light cleanup. Explain why you want their house looking sharp. You aren’t being knit-picky; your listing price will suffer if something isn’t done.
• Spearhead a community curb appeal effort. A clean street benefits all.

Situation 2 – the house is vacant

• Request any Homeowner’s Association to perform the needed aesthetic maintenance. They can file a lien on the property to cover the costs.
• Rat out offending vacant real estate owned (REO) property to local authorities. REOs must be reasonably maintained according to the new Homeowner’s Bill of Rights. Failure to do so will result in hefty fines for the owner of the neglected property, and fines speak volumes to lenders.

If the above tips don’t work, do the following:

• Separate yourself from the house. A side window is better served by a view of an evergreen tree than a shack.
• Cut away any overgrowth back to the property line.

Remember, you’re not just selling your house. You’re selling your neighborhood!