The neighbours From Hell Who Will Trash Your Home's Value

In Republic, Missouri, plans to build a new funeral home–complete with crematory–were dashed when homeowners railed against the Green County Commissioners saying the establishment would tank property values.

With nearly 100 homes planned for construction around the area, the commissioners backed off–and for plenty good reason. 

Americans are so freaked out about home values right now that they’ve stopped spending. And a bad neighbour can ruin the investment you’ve been working to pay off or sell. 

“It can make your home unmarketable,” Joe Magdziarz, president of the Appraisal Institute told MSN.

Bad neighbours can be hoarder strewing junk across the yard, foreclosed homes, even landfills. We’ve collected information from U.S. News, SmartMoney, and Zillow, among others, to help you spot these neighbours and avoid them.

Government sites like city dumps or power plants

A subdivision with a dump next door could see its value cut by 6 to 10% compared to one that isn't but has the same makeup (house size, school quality, homeowner incomes), according to a study by the Pima County, Ariz. assessor's office.

The University of California at Berkeley likewise found homes within two miles of a power plant see values drop 4 to 7%.

The registered sex offender down the block

No one wants to live next door to a sex offender and Web tools like the National Sex Offender Registry and Zillow help home shoppers avoid them.

SmartMoney reported that a study by Longwood College and University in Virginia found that the sex offender next door can keep your home on the market 70% longer--and drop 9% in value.

Ugly lawns, hoarder piles, and veggie patches

Eyesores scare off home shoppers, leaving houses to languish on the market.

Foreclosed homes reflect neighbourhood distress

Where demand is high, foreclosure isn't as much of an issue. But if the neighbourhood was badly hit, home shoppers will see it as a sign of problems to come.

Across America foreclosures were found to cause an average $7,200 price decline for every nearby home, according to the centre for Responsible Lending.

Foreclosed homes also attract more crime

A long-vacant home also breeds trouble, says 'unsecured properties can be invaded by squatters, vandalised, or gutted of valuable fixtures and appliances.'

Raucous parties are annoying--and a turnoff to buyers

One Zillow blogger recalls a hellish neighbour who was up till 1 a.m. most nights, drinking and smoking with two to three friends and 'laughing and talking as if no one else existed.'

If you're buying, take multiple trips to the neighbourhood at different times of the day and ask around to get a sense of the area, advises Zillow.

Big-box retailers or shopping centres mean lots of traffic

What was once a stomping ground for kids can soon give way to a high-traffic, 24/7 retail bonanza, notes the Virginia Community Association. That means lots of Mack trucks and fluorescent lights. Ask your agent about nearby non-residential zoning and what might be built there.

A closed-down school can send values south

'If a cash-strapped city of town closes a neighbourhood school, that can easily steer home values south,' writes Brian O'Connell. The National Association of Realtors says 75% of home shoppers care deeply about the quality and availability of schools near their home.

Of course some cities are bad in general

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