How Reverse Mortgages Can Help Seniors Throughout Retirement

Many Americans are living longer than they may have initially anticipated. And while that may be a positive thing, it also poses a problem: having enough money to live comfortably throughout the golden years.

Retirement planning should always be a big part of financial strategies for the future, but if you’re living longer on less income than you had planned, you’ll have to come up with more creative ways to supplement your income.

One way to do just that is with a reverse mortgage. With this option, you can securely use the equity from your home to pay for life’s expenses.

What Exactly is a Reverse Mortgage?

retirement planning

A reverse mortgage is a loan that’s available to homeowners who are 62 years of age or older. With this program, seniors are able to use the equity in their homes to pay for life’s big expenses. It’s called a ‘reverse’ mortgage because the lender makes payments to the borrower instead of the other way around, which is typical of a conventional mortgage. By converting their home equity into cash, retirees can comfortably pay for things like major home renovations, a vacation, and a sudden medical expense.

This product was designed specifically for older adults with limited income in retirement to help them use the wealth they’ve accumulated in their homes to cover basic day-to-day living expenses and health care. While these are typical uses for the equity, there really is no restriction on how the money can be used. 

The borrower does not have to pay the loan back to the lender until the home is sold or vacated for some reason. As long as the borrower remains in the home, he or she doesn’t have to make any monthly payments towards the balance of the loan. However, property taxes and home insurance payments still need to be kept up with. 

Upon the borrower’s death, the interest in the loan is due and payable, which usually requires the home to be sold. If heirs want to keep possession of the home, they may have to pay back the loan to buy out the house; however, usually this is much less compared to buying the property in a typical market.

How Does One Qualify For a Reverse Mortgage?

home_reverse mortgage

As long as the borrower is 62 or older, and lives in the home, qualification is rather simple. There’s no need for the lender to check out the borrower’s credit worthiness or monthly income level. The lender will establish the amount of equity the borrower has in the home, the appraised value and location of the home, and current interest rates. Typically, the older the person is, the bigger the available loan. 

About 90 percent of reverse mortgages are traditional loans, or FHA-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM). It’s the HECM that backs up the FHA in meeting the lender’s obligations to the borrower. It also ensures that loan origination costs are limited, and full repayment of the loan is given back to the lender.

Reverse mortgages are dependent on the current value of the property, the borrower’s age, and current interest rates. Borrowers have the choice between receiving their loan in one lump sum amount, as regular installments, or as a line of credit.

Reverse Mortgages – Helping Retirees Stay in Their Homes Without Going Into Financial Distress

reverse mortage_couple

The concept of reverse mortgages is pretty innovative and resourceful. Retirees who otherwise don’t have a sizable regular income during retirement can still comfortably remain in their family homes without having to worry about drained bank accounts. They have access to lump sums of money that could come in handy when an urgent need arises.

With the average loan, borrowers have to pay interest on top of the total loan amount. Instead, with a reverse mortgage, the interest is subtracted from the price of the home, with the borrower getting the difference.

Benefits of a Reverse Mortgage

No fixed expiry date

No repayment needed (as long as the borrower considers the home his or her principal residence)

Amount never exceeds the sales price

Borrowers still remain on title

Loan proceeds not taxed

Flexible payments

Of course, a reverse mortgage isn’t for everyone, which is why it’s always wise to discuss your options with a professional mortgage specialist or financial advisor to see if this is a right fit for you. If you’re considering a reverse mortgage, make sure you’re properly and fully counseled so that you understand the whole process before signing up.

Creative Storage Ideas for Shoes and Purses

Whether you’re a fashionista with a pair of shoes in every color and style or you keep it simple with a dozen or so pairs, storing shoes can be a challenge. Purses are equally as challenging, with women often stashing them on closet shelves and in closets. But there are some creative ways you can keep your home looking great while still having the accessories you need on hand. Here are a few creative storage ideas for shoes and purses.

Go Traditional

under the bed storage

The under-the-bed storage box has long been a popular way to stash shoes, purses, and other items out of sight. But the downside of this plan is that you have to dig your shoes out whenever you need them. Instead, you could consider basic door-hanging shoe racks like this one, which works well if you don’t mind your shoes being visible to anyone who opens your closet.

Cabinetry

shoe cabinet storage

If you have room for extra furniture, cabinets are a great way to store both shoes and handbags. You can slide the cabinet into your closet or set it up in a room. You don’t have to purchase a cabinet specifically for this purpose, either. Purse cabinets are especially easy to make from regular cabinets, since the shelf space is usually wide enough to accommodate medium- and large-size bags.

Create Shelving

shoe closet

By creating shelves specifically for shoes and purses, you give yourself an element of flexibility in your accessories storage. For those with large purse collections, you can line them up as displayed here on shelves in one of your closets. Shoes can be set up on shelves in a closet to be neatly tucked away.

Storage Ottomans

ottoman storage

A great way to tuck your purses and shoes away is in a storage ottoman. It serves the added benefit of giving you a place to rest your feet while seated. This storage ottoman is specifically made to store shoes, but if you’re creative with a sewing machine, you could make a similar insert yourself.

Shoeboxes

shoebox storage

Shoeboxes are the perfect size to store your shoes, but the boxes themselves are generally unsightly. You can keep those boxes out of the recycle bin by covering them in beautiful fabrics to match your décor. You could also move your shoes to shoebox-shaped boxes and use picture printouts to designate which box contains which pair of shoes.

Hat Boxes

hat storage

For purses, hatboxes are a great way to conceal your purses while also enhancing the look of a room. There are numerous options for single, double, and triple hatbox setups. This is likely the best choice for someone who only has a few purses to hide, unless you’re committed to filling your home with hatboxes.

These options are proof that you can indulge your accessories habit while boosting the look of your rooms. You can take these ideas and build on them, adding your own personal touch to what you do with your purses and shoes when they aren’t in use. If you have an attractive collection, don’t hide them in storage boxes. Shelve them and show them off to everyone who visits your home.

‘Once Upon a Time’ Real-Life Couple Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas Snatch Up $3.45 Million Encino Mansion

Real-life couple Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin, who co-star together in the popular television series “Once Upon a Time,” dished out $3.45 million for a family-friendly home in Encino, California. It’s the perfect pad for their young, growing family: the couple have a 1-year-old son, Oliver, who Ginnifer gave birth to shortly after they were married last year.

Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas

The 6-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom residence sits on a 0.36-acre lot, and is described in its listing as a “Bel Air traditional estate.” The 1935-built home features a classic exterior with white-washed red brick, white paneled windows and shutters, and an ivy hedge that extends to the home’s gated entrance.

Situated on a private cul-de-sac in the upscale Rancho Estates neighborhood, the 5,758-square-foot home includes an open floor plan with a large foyer, curved-brick fireplace, vaulted ceilings, and bright rooms filled with natural light.

white brick fireplace

The spacious, step-down formal living area features hardwood floors in a herringbone pattern, intricate ceiling moldings, a paneled entertainment unit, and a fireplace that creates a cozy ambience. The cutting-edge kitchen is just off the foyer, and features a center island kitchen, a large breakfast area, slab marble counters, and commercial-grade stainless steel appliances. The adjoining dining area opens up to the backyard.

Ginnifer and Josh can do laundry in style and utter convenience thanks to their massive laundry room complete with marble countertops and tons of built-in storage. The home also features a playroom for kids where 1-year-old Oliver can play for hours, and a fitness room where Ginnifer and Josh can get their sweat on.

kid's play room

The master suite boasts a large walk-in closet, a spa-like bathroom, a fireplace and pitched ceilings that give off a whimsical cottage feel. The adjacent French doors lead out from the master bedroom to a balcony that overlooks lush greenery and towering pine trees.

balcony overlooking garden

The outdoor area features a large sitting area, red brick dining terrace, outdoor bar, built-in BBQ, and a swimming pool – all the necessary features to throw festive gatherings.

This isn’t Ms. Dallas’ first real estate rodeo. The “He’s Just Not That Into You” star also owns a charming 2,204-square-foot Spanish-style home in the Whitely Heights area of Hollywood that she purchased for $1.075 million from fellow actress Busy Philipps in 2008. Philipps took a loss on that sale after paying $1.349 million for it in late 2005.

hollywood blvd

The Whitely Heights home has had its fair share of Hollywood owners, including Rose McGowan and Rachel Bilson who owned the home before Busy and Ginnifer.

Own a Historic Home? These Regulations Could Affect Your Remodeling Plans

There’s something unique and charming about a historic home. The features in these century-old properties are rarely found in new construction, and the location of these homes typically feature mature trees and greenery – something that you don’t always see in new developments.

When it comes time to make a few changes or updates to these types of homes, you might have to cut through some red tape first. Remodeling a historic home isn’t as easy as drafting up a blueprint, ordering the materials and making changes. There are regulations that need to be adhered to prior to starting your remodeling project in order to avoid getting slapped with fines.

What Makes a Home Historic?

historic home

Designation as to what is deemed historic will vary from one town to the next. Many historic properties in the US that are at least 50 years old are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a list of historic buildings that’s maintained on a federal level.

If your home is found on this list, it could qualify your property for loans, grants, and tax incentives for renovation work if you agree to have the work comply with the authentic standards of the historic and original craftsmanship and design of the home. But even properties that are younger than 50 years old can still be considered historically significant by local commissions.

Regardless of the age of the home, a number of factors play a key role in influencing a commission’s decision to deem a home historic, including:

          • Architectural quality and significance

          • Association to a historically important individual event

          • Site of archeological findings

State Regulations of Remodeling Historic Properties

home regulations

Before remodeling an existing historic property, you might have to abide by the specific regulations in your state. Many states require that any permits or funding for remodeling work be reviewed by a state commission to determine if there will be any impact to a historically relevant property.

Just because your property isn’t listed on the National Register of Historic Places doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require any review on a state level. The state reserves the right to impose restrictions on the type of work you want to do on your home after review.

Local Regulations of Remodeling Historic Properties

Not only are there certain restrictions and regulations imposed on a state level, local authorities also place regulations on remodeling work to historic properties. These regulations tend to be a part of the local zoning bylaw or a historical property preservation bylaw. In this case, the local commission will review the renovations that you plan on undertaking, and will issue permits for the work if approved.

Is Your Home Considered Historic?

historic home features

There are certain areas that are considered to be historic. Under these circumstances, any property in the area is considered historic. If that’s the case, every home will have to be reviewed by local authorities before any remodeling can take place. Other localities rely on the national or state register when considering a home historically significant, which can make the home subject to local regulations.

To find out if your home is considered officially historic – and therefore subject to review – you can check out your town or city hall. You’ll then be directed to the zoning regulations that would apply to the work you intend on doing on your home.

If your home is in fact historically relevant, you’ll then need to find out what kind of restrictions you’ll have to abide by before you start taking hammer to nail. You’ll need to learn what types of designs are allowed or recommended.

To make this easier on you, there are plenty of architects and contractors who are well-versed in remodeling historic homes who you can be referred to at your town or city hall. These experts have experience appearing before the commission, and understand what they tend to approve, and what they don’t.

If you plan on swapping old elements for newer materials, this could raise commission concern. The rule of thumb in this department is whether or not the new materials resemble the material being replaced. It’s also got to be just as durable – if not more – than the material being replaced.

Thinking of Tearing Down Your Historic Home? Before You Do…

remodeling historic home

You’ll be subject to certain regulations if you plan on completely ripping your home down, regardless of whether or not it’s got any historic value. While this method will allow you to avoid sticking to regulations about remodeling the existing building, it’ll set off different forms of regulations.

Usually, you’ll have to give notice to the local historic commission that you intend to tear the home down and build a new modern home in its place. There’s typically a lengthy waiting period before a decision is communicated – usually between 6 to 12 months after you’ve provided written notice.

During this time, the commission will have a chance to review the work being proposed, and any other pertinent parties have the opportunity to react and communicate their opinions or concerns about this work.

Understanding the rules of preservation on historic homes will streamline the path for your renovation project. Regardless of the work being done, it’s up to you and your contractor to start communicating with the commissioners as soon as possible before any plans are finalized. Building inspectors might be willing to compromise within reason, but the chances of coming to an agreement are boosted if these conversations start before you even whip out your crowbar and sledge hammer.

Selling Your House? 4 Tips for Staging Your Home on a Budget

With home sales trending upward, homeowners are starting to feel confident enough to put their homes up for sale. If you’re one of those homeowners, you may be looking around your home, wondering what you need to do to give your house the best chance possible of selling quickly. While there are many things you can do to improve the look of your home, you likely don’t want to spend a fortune doing so. Here are some ways you can spruce up your home without emptying your bank account.

Use Some Elbow Grease

home cleaning

It can be tempting to replace everything from windows to shower curtain rods when you’re preparing to sell. However, often a bucket of soapy water and a sponge can make those items brand new. Spend time scrubbing every surface of your house to distinguish what needs to be replaced from those things that are simply dirty. Spend a weekend thoroughly cleaning your appliances, baseboards, and every surface in every room well in advance of putting it on the market.

Invest in a Storage Unit

storage unit

Professional home stagers will generally first recommend homeowners eliminate clutter. This usually involves removing as many items as possible from each room to provide a clean appearance. If you can’t store items with a relative or friend until your move, shop around for an affordable storage unit large enough to hold your items and start filling it up with items from your home. Look at each room of your house and remove excess furniture, as well as personal items like family pictures and knickknacks. Professional stagers recommend you decrease the possessions in your home by at least 50 percent to be most effective.

Focus on First Impressions

curb appeal

Curb appeal is essential to selling your home. As a buyer browses through photos on real estate listing sites, that first photo determines whether or not he’ll click through to see more. Your real estate agent will probably use the photo of the front of your home as that primary photo, which means it needs to be as compelling as possible. Change out the landscaping at the front of your house to make it pop. You should also paint shutters, trim, and your front door if they need it. Once your house is on the market, be sure you keep your yard maintained on a weekly basis, especially if you’re selling during the time of year when grass grows fairly quickly.

Study the Experts

home decor

Professional stagers have a variety of tools they use to spice up a home, but you don’t have to bring in an expert to utilize their expertise. Tricks like moving furniture away from rugs, adding lighting, and grouping objects in odd numbers can make a big difference in the way a room looks. Try to see your home objectively and move items from one room to the next until you find the perfect look for each room of your home.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, staging can make a big difference in how quickly it sells. Study other homes on the market and look around your own house to find ways you can spruce up each room to help your house find a new family.

How Do I Sell My Tenant-Occupied Property?

There could be a variety of reasons for wanting to sell your tenant-occupied property. Maybe you’re strapped for cash and need to unload the place to get some equity back. Or maybe you’d rather skip being a landlord and focus your investment elsewhere. Whatever the reason is, selling a property that’s currently got a renter in it can be a challenge if you don’t navigate these waters carefully.

Know Your Rights – and the Rights of the Tenant

house showing

As a landlord, you can’t just waltz in to your tenant-occupied property whenever you feel like it. You’ll have to abide by the landlord-tenant laws in your jurisdiction when it comes to showing the property to prospective buyers. Depending on where you live, the rules will vary from one jurisdiction to another.

For example, in certain areas, tenants have the right of first refusal when a property is listed for sale, as well as when an offer comes in. Your best bet is to call the local association or speak with a licensed real estate agent to find out the specific rules in your area about listing your tenant-occupied property for sale and notifying tenants about showings.

Encourage the Tenants to Cooperate

Before even listing your property for sale, it’s recommended that landlords have a chat with the tenants first. This may be a chance to offer the home to the tenant to buy if they’re interested. If not, certain pieces of information should be exchanged with the tenant in order to clarify what is expected of both of you while the property is on the market.

tenants

Many tenants are extremely cooperative and will have no problems keeping the place clean and tidy, and being flexible with showing appointments. Others, however, aren’t so apt to comply. While some tenants may actually already have plans to move out, others might be hostile about essentially getting kicked out in order to make way for new owners.

You need to clearly explain what your intentions are and why to your tenants. You’ll also need to communicate to the tenants how and when the property will be shown to prospective buyers. Reassure the tenants that not just anyone off the street will be venturing through their place, and that only buyers with their agents will be allowed access.

Of course, one of the biggest challenges for landlords who are showing a property occupied by tenants is ensuring that the place is neat and tidy at all times. This is a tall order even for owners who are living in the home themselves, let alone for tenants.

So what’s a landlord to do?

This is where money really talks.

gift card

Real estate agents suggest giving tenants a monetary incentive to cooperate and keep the place in decent shape by offering a discount on the rent while the property is up for sale. You can choose to shave 25% off the monthly rent until the place is sold, or offer gift cards for gas or groceries.

Such incentives will help encourage tenants to remain flexible about showings and keep on top of cleanliness and tidiness. With rent being as high as it is these days, particularly in metropolitan centers, having the monthly rental price discounted can be a welcomed gift and can fuel cooperation.

Don’t forget that tenants have the right to quiet enjoyment, which includes notifying the tenant before a scheduled showing and getting approval before strolling into the rented premises. Typically, the tenant can’t refuse access to their place for a showing if they’ve been given sufficient notice (usually about 24 hours before the scheduled showing).

24hr notice

If there are only a few months left before the lease expires, you might want to consider waiting until the lease is up and the tenant moves out before starting to show the place for sale. It might make things easier, particularly when it comes to making sure the place is always properly staged, and if you plan on scheduling frequent open houses.

Of course, you’ll have to give the tenants sufficient notice before the date that the lease expires informing them that the premises needs to be vacated as a result of the property hitting the market.

house for sale

You can absolutely sell your property if your tenant is still living in there, but you need to take a few precautions before and during the selling process. If you have a stellar tenant, great. If not, a little schmoozing might be necessary. Your real estate agent will be able to walk you through the process and make sure no toes are stepped on throughout the entire process.

Royalty Enters Manhattan: Queen Elizabeth Snags a NYC Pad For $8 Million

Why should the Queen of England rent a hotel room when she can own a sprawling pad instead when visiting the Big Apple?

Queen Elizabeth reportedly snagged a pied-à-terre on the 18th floor of 50 United Nations Plaza for $8 million. The 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom apartment in the Turtle Bay area of Manhattan is situated along the East River between East 42nd and East 48th street.

Queen Elisabeth

The 3,000 square foot pad features an oversized foyer that flows into a combination living/dining room that’s nearly 50 feet in length, and is equipped with two deep bay windows overlooking the U.N. complex. This expansive dining area is perfect for entreating guests and other dignitaries. The kitchen features a large center island and black honed granite countertops and white cabinetry.

United Nations

The master bedroom has a city view, and features two walk-in closets and a spacious ensuite with lavish white marble, a teak wood vanity and a sectioned-off toilet and bidet.

NYC highrise

The 43-story building was designed by award-winning British architect Norman Foster, who just so happened to be knighted by the Queen herself back in 1990. Perhaps it’s this affiliation with Foster that attracted the Queen to this building – either that or the sheer grandeur of the apartment and the building itself. Residents of the building have the utmost of privacy and security thanks to the building’s gated entry and private motor-court.

State-of-the-art building amenities include a landscaped courtyard, 75-foot pool, massage rooms, fitness center, and even climate-controlled wine cellars for purchase.

massage room

The area of Turtle Bay in New York is filled with quaint walkups, mid-rises and luxury high-rises. This community has a 2,000-member Turtle Bay Association working to preserve the history and the quality of life in the neighborhood. Since the area isn’t defined by tourist attractions, the streets are roamed almost exclusively by area residents, which helps keep the neighborhood quiet and friendly.

Perhaps the Queen can use this NYC condo unit to retreat to while her 775-room Buckingham Palace undergoes some much-needed renovations. The massive building requires structural upgrades according to English royal officials. But the queen has a number of other places she could escape to aside from her new pad in Turtle Bay, such as the Windsor Castle, Sandringham House, and the Balmoral Castle in Scotland. 

Windsor Castle

While the Queen hasn’t been to New York City since 2007, perhaps this new purchase will entice her to visit US soil more often.

What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Do During DIY Pergola Construction

Pergolas have become a popular feature in contemporary homes these days. They offer shade, decor, and a multi-purpose area that can be used for all sorts of applications. Whether you’re looking to section off an area for an outdoor living room or a dining area with a stone pizza oven, a pergola is a wonderful way to complement such uses.

Before you undertake your DIY pergola construction project, here are a few things you need to keep in mind. 

Find Out if You Need Permits

pergola_permit

Many local municipalities will require a permit before any work starts on the construction of a pergola, as well as many other home construction projects. Keep in mind that what might be relevant in one municipality won’t necessarily be the same in another. So if you’ve recently moved from one community to another, don’t assume that the permit requirement will be the same as your old neighborhood.

Decide on the Exact Spot Where the Pergola Will Be Placed

pergola_location

Pergolas aren’t exactly portable, so it’s important that you choose the exact spot where the pergola will go before you start taking hammer to nail. Think about how you use the space in your yard, as well as the direction of the sun at certain times of the day.

For instance, if you’d like to set up an outdoor living area, you might want to have the pergola built right up against your house. On the other hand, if you have a pool and want the kids shaded when they’re swimming, it might make more sense to build it adjacent to the pool where you can then place a couple of lawn beds underneath.

Determine the Types of Plants and Flowers That Will Around the Pergola

pergola_flowers

The last thing you want is to have insects invading your space while you’re trying to lounge peacefully under the pergola. Unfortunately, many plants and flowers attract such unwanted guests, so make sure you choose your plants and flowers wisely.

In addition, make sure you don’t plant any flowers or plants that have thorns, especially if you’ve got young children. And it goes without saying – avoid any plants or flowers that you or your family members are allergic to. Just because a certain plant is pretty doesn’t mean it makes the best choice.

Determine the Appropriate Size Pergola for Your Property

A huge pergola might be nice, but if your property’s size doesn’t call for it, you’ll wind up with a host of issues. Not only will it look out of place and make your property seem smaller than it actually is, it might be considered an eyesore to your next door neighbor, who might throw a ton of complaints your way. You also want to consider how the space under the pergola will be used – if you plan on placing certain furniture underneath, the pergola should be large enough to accommodate it, within reason.

Don’t Place the Pergola Too Close to Electric and Gas Lines

pergola_avoid power lines

It’s always important to call your local utility companies before you start digging into your property, regardless of what you’re building. When digging holes to secure the posts for the pergola, you could accidentally hit a line or wire. This will not only knock out the power in your house and the rest of the neighborhood, it could also be a major safety hazard. Every city has a “call before you dig” hotline that is available to you so you know exactly where the safest location is.

Don’t Spend Too Much Money on the Pergola

pergola_featured

One of the things that you need to keep in mind is your ROI. While you might not necessarily be considering moving out of your home any time in the near future, you still want to make sure that you’ll at least recoup the money spent should that day come. Your real estate agent will be able to give you pointers about the monetary cap that you should place on the pergola construction so you can stay in line with what the neighborhood calls for.

A pergola is a fabulous feature to have in the backyard. Not only does it provide just the right amount of shade, but when constructed properly, it can add a wonderful element to the overall feel of your property. Keep these pointers in mind before you start construction – and if the DIY route isn’t for you, there’s always the option of having a professional pergola builder deal with the construction on your behalf.

How to Prevent Nightmare Neighbors from Derailing Your Home Sale

In a perfect world, every neighbor on the block would have perfectly manicured lawns, polite kids, and never make a peep. But in reality, there will always be the hoarders, the late-night partiers, and the non-stop dog barkers.

If you’ve got a family living next door that fits one of these descriptions, it could put a wrench in the home selling process.

Here are five common issues with neighbors, and some suggestions on how to deal with them.

An Overgrown, Unkempt Lawn

nightmare neighbors_overgrown grass

While some home owners meticulously maintain their lawns, others simply don’t even bother. If your next door neighbor’s lot is riddled with weeds and overgrown grass, it could be an eyesore that potential home buyers will be turned off by.

In many municipalities, there are stringent guidelines about how home owners are supposed to take care of their properties. The solution might be as simple as calling the city and have them deal with the jungle next door by demanding a quick clean up. But if this option isn’t available to you, you might have to have a chat with the neighbor yourself. Just make sure you tread lightly with the conversation.

Rather than command the neighbor to cut the grass and get rid of the debris, offer to help him or her get the property in order until your house is sold. If professional landscaping services are needed, you might have to suck it up and flip the bill for these services, especially if your neighbor is strapped for cash. While this surely isn’t your responsibility, the couple of hundred bucks it’ll cost will more than come back to you with a quicker sale. It could end up costing you more with a listing that sits on the market for weeks.

Noisy and Annoying Neighbors

nightmare neighbors_partying

This can be a tough one to deal with. Some people simply have no qualms about airing out their dirty laundry for the entire neighborhood to hear. Whether they argue on their front lawn, or have teenage kids that like to party, it can be a challenging situation to address effectively. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

Talk to them at first, and point out their noisy nature in a friendly manner. Some people might not even realize how noisy they really are. Proper etiquette suggests asking them nicely to quiet down before ruffling any feathers.

It’s important to note that you’re legally obligated to disclose any noisy or obnoxious neighbors to buyers, depending on the regulations in your community. You might luck out with a buyer who doesn’t mind these types of neighbors, and may want to party alongside the partying teens.

If you live in a condo, the condominium corporation will most likely have rules in place that don’t allow loud and disruptive behavior. In this case, a simple call to the corporation can be all that’s needed, after which they’ll deal with the problem for you. Otherwise you might need to come up with an “override” solution to your noisy neighbors, such as planting some sound-absorbing tree shrubs to help drown out the loudness next door.

Menacing Dogs

nightmare neighbors_dog

Barking dogs are always a nuisance, especially if they go at it all day (and sometimes all night). The problem can be even worse if the neighbors allow the dogs to roam the area off their leashes. If the neighbors are unwilling to control the situation, the solution here is simple and straightforward – call animal control.

The Hoarders

nightmare neighbors_hoarders

If you’ve got a junk collector living next door, it’ll negatively affect the appearance of your home. Maybe the neighbor is using the front lawn as a place to store spare car parts, old appliances, or even junk cars. Whatever the case may be be, this stuff has got to go. This perpetual garage sale-style yard is going to do little to attract home buyers.

If the neighbor is unwilling to put in some elbow grease to clear the yard, or simply can’t afford to get a company to do it for him or her, consider doing the job yourself. If you don’t have the time, flip the bill for a garbage bin rental, temporary storage shed, or junk removal services. Every month that your house sits on the market costs you money in carrying costs. And a nearby property’s clutter can easily shave 5 to 10 percent off the sale price of your home. The money you spend to rectify this situation will come back in spades with a quicker sale at top dollar.

The Next-Door Foreclosure

nightmare neighbors_foreclosure

Probably some of the worst eyesores are homes that are owned by the banks. The previous owners may have destroyed the place before they were kicked out, and lenders aren’t always on top of property maintenance. Not only that, but foreclosed homes might make buyers think that prices in the neighborhood may fall even lower, which does little to the perceived value of the area.

If the neighboring home is a foreclosed one, try calling the bank and the listing agent if it’s currently on the market. Insist that they protect the property to make sure it’s not further vandalized or open to transients setting up shop. Ask them to at least maintain the front yard so it looks somewhat presentable.

If all else fails, call the municipality. Every city has rules that dictate how properties should appear, particularly when it comes to health and safety. In some cities, for instance, grass over a certain height or fences falling over are considered violations.

There are a bunch of obstacles that could potentially stand in the way of attracting buyers to your home and making a sale in a decent amount of time. How you choose to deal with these hurdles can have a big effect on the final result. This is where the expertise of a real estate agent can really prove to be a life saver. He or she can help you tread these waters lightly in order to minimize any ruffling of feathers while getting your home sold in a decent amount of time, and for the money your home is really worth.