How Your Neighbors Can Help — or Hurt — Your Home’s Sale


Note: This article was originally posted on Zillow Blog ( on Aug 29, 2014 by Brendon Desimone

When preparing to sell your home, you probably spend a lot of time and energy getting it in its best showing condition. But can improvements to your neighbor’s property help sell your home?

Imagine that you’ve spent time and energy weeding the front yard, painting the front door, power-washing your siding and planting flowers. You’ve updated the kitchen and bathrooms and de-cluttered the home. You’re ready to go to market.

And then, when you step across the street to look at your home, all that stands out are the beat-up cars in your neighbor’s driveway, not to mention the torn-up lawn, barking dogs and overall negative curb appeal (or in this case, “curb unappealing”).

If you find the neighbor’s home unappealing, imagine what a potential buyer may think. The fact is, your neighbor’s unsightly property can rub off on your own house’s curb appeal, no matter how much you’ve done to improve it. But you have options.

1. Build a good relationship with your neighbors

Even if you don’t have a plan to sell now, it’s good practice to maintain a friendly relationship with the neighbors. You never know when you’ll need them.

Aside from possible curb appeal issues, it’s not uncommon for issues to come up during a sale. Problems regarding fence repair, retaining walls or easements can often bring a neighbor into your home sale process. Having a good relationship with your neighbor from the beginning will help to ensure their cooperation when you need them at a critical time in the home sale.

2. Keep them in the loop

If you plan to sell your home in the near future, it’s a good idea to give the neighbors a heads-up well in advance. Aside from the occasional nosey neighbor, people simply like to be “in the know.” If you think you’ll need assistance from a neighbor for whatever reason, it will be easier to approach them if you’ve given them notice. Knocking on their door telling them you’re selling and then requesting their cooperation under the gun won’t help.

3. Offer to pay for improvements (but don’t try to control them)

It will be difficult to ask your neighbors to reseed their lawn, pull their weeds, change their fence or paint their door to help your sale. Ask them to pay for it, and you can expect resistance.

If you need your neighbor to do some curb appeal work to help your sale, the money should come out of your pocket. On top of that, you can’t force the neighbor to use your landscaper, painter or contractor, even if you’re paying for it. Don’t forget: It’s their home, not yours, and you need to tread lightly. Though many neighbors will appreciate the offer to spruce up their home on your dime, others may be hesitant. Bullying them to work on your timeframe or with your rules won’t help.

With luck, a home sale can proceed smoothly without the need to involve neighbors. But if you hope to sell in the future, understand that your neighbors’ cooperation may be necessary. If you plan in advance, open the doors of communication and offer to make things easy, you’re more likely to get what you want.


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5 Ways to Design a Luxe Room for Less

Note: This article was originally posted on Zillow Blog ( on July 17, 2014.

Adding style to interiors doesn’t necessarily require wads of cash. Whether you prefer to keep money in the bank or desire to incorporate creative solutions, updating your home while saving money can be rewarding. From shopping your own space, to finding amazing lighting or re-purposing found items, consider these tips and tricks to create a luxe room — without breaking the bank.

Let there be light

kitchen lights

Does that dated, fluorescent light box in your kitchen have you feeling less than chic and savvy? Good news is that you have the electrical junction box already installed to connect a design-driven fixture instead. Whether you use a surface-mounted version or a sparkling chandelier, your kitchen will go from drab to fab in just a few minutes, and for not a ton of money.

Play out of the box

A black door is unexpected and chic. Source: ZIllow Digs

Acquaint yourself with other designer tricks, like painting interior doors black — instead of standard white — and adding architectural molding to less than lively spaces. You will soon be on your way to creating a rich-looking space without spending a lot of dough.

Pump up the details

Over-stuffed pillows are an easy luxe addition. Source: Kerrie Kelly

Sometimes a small detail, like an extra-large overstuffed throw pillow, can make your entire living room feel more luxurious — even if your sofa isn’t top of the line. Simply by adding a down and feather 22-inch insert in a 20-inch pillow cover, you can achieve a plush, luxurious look for little money.

Shop what you got

“Sourcing” furniture and accessories within your own space is the best — and cheapest — way to decorate on a budget. Shifting old furniture to a different room or using it in a fresh way, like re-purposing a kitchen cart as a side table, can deliver amazing results without spending a dime.

Refresh paint and hardware

Cherry red and chalkboard paint liven up a kitchen. Source: Jason Landeau

Kitchen remodels are infamously expensive — but savvy homeowners can slash those costs with a bit of creativity. Consider working with what you have by painting your cabinets and your updating hardware to give your existing space a lift. Consider painting doors or appliances with chalkboard paint for a truly interactive experience.


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