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More than nuisance: Bad neighbors can harm home prices

Location, square footage, schools — and neighbors?

The standard home appraisal form may not include an area for troublesome neighbors, but new research from Harris Interactive and State Farm Insurance found 60 percent of Americans aren’t exactly enamored with someone who live nearby. In some extreme cases, annoying neighbors can negatively impact a home’s value.

From CNNMoney.com:

At the extreme, certain next-door nuisances — such as annoying pets, unkempt yards, foul odors, and dangerous trees — could reduce your home value by 5 percent or more, according to the Appraisal Institute.

Case in point: Omaha real estate appraiser John Bredemeyer says that a few years ago he saw a house in his area sell for 8 percent less than comparable homes nearby, owing largely to the large, snarling dogs next door. “Raising kids there?” he says. “I don’t think so.”

How can buyers avoid moving in next door to neighbors from you-know-where?

Walk and talk. Sellers are unlikely to gripe about their neighbors, but they may not be true of other neighbors without skin in the game. If you think you’ve found the right home, make it a point to explore the neighborhood by foot and make an effort to interact with homeowners. Tell them you are considering buying a home in the neighborhood. This should give way to an honest conversation about the current homeowners, as well as neighborhood goings-on.

Do your research. Study neighborhood crime maps for incidents like noise complaints. Or, visit sites like NeighborsFromHell.com, which allows homeowners to complain about unruly neighbors. (There are more than 43,000 posts to date!) Search the address of neighboring homes online just to see what comes up.

Bottom line: Arm yourself with information to better gauge what kind of behavior you’re willing to tolerate.

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