It’s not uncommon in many Charleston neighborhoods to have a beautiful new home smack dab in the middle of a row of shanty’s or one shanty in a sea of mansions. We are certainly used to it, but a lot of Lowcountry new-comers have a hard time accepting it. Whether it’s an unkempt property neglected by messy owners or an abandoned home falling into disarray, an ugly house can have a negative effect on the curb appeal of the home next door. So what do you do if you’re trying to sell a beauty next to a beast? Potential buyers don’t have blinders on, so it’s best to address the problem head-on. A little creative thinking can help you work through possible objections.
Try to Find the Silver Lining
Sometimes, you need to reframe the way potential buyers perceive the eyesore. One too many wind chimes? Who doesn’t want to live next to nature-loving hippies? Loads of lawn equipment and tools? Fewer trips to Lowe’s! Vegetation overkill? Maybe they grow the best tomatoes!
Create a Buffer
If the eyesore isn’t something that can be reframed, you may be able to hide or downplay it by putting up a fence or landscape buffer, which can draw attention away from neighboring properties and add to the attributes of your home. Think of it as staging (or merchandising as we call it) the curb appeal just like you would the inside of the home. Caveat: know your property lines before you start!
Investigate the Root Cause of the Mess and Offer Help
Some rundown homes and overgrown yards may be a sign that the neighbors could use a little help. Perhaps it’s an older couple who are no longer able to maintain the property; maybe it’s a family who has fallen on hard financial times. Either way, try to find out what’s going on without seeming nosy or accusatory.
If the neighboring home truly needs improvement, extend a hand—but do it with kindness and consideration. For unsightly yards, it could be as simple as recruiting a few teenagers in the neighborhood for a few hours of cleanup. Remember to keep it positive when you broach the subject by saying something like, “We’re preparing to sell our house and will be having some work done, and we’d like to do this for you, too, as a thank-you since you’ve been such great neighbors.” Who’s going to say no to that?