Hypothetically, how could I drive down the value of my neighbor's house?(long)

My well-hated, OCD, nasty, grudge-holding, stuck-up neighbor has finally decided to move, and has put her house on the market. The sense of peace and contentment I have now is indescribable, now that she has moved out and I don’t have to worry about being out in my yard when she is out and about.

I want to get good, decent, friendly neighbors. She is asking what I consider a fairly high price for her house, considering the neighborhood and the age of the place and the lack of any interesting features. She has remodeled a great deal, but her tastes ran to gilt mirrors and chandaliers and a lawn jockey that she meticulously painted black every spring. She kept her yard beautifully, but sterilely. She claims a wooded lot, but chopped down almost all the trees except a few ornamentals an one older tree way back at the property line.

Our house is not fancy, and we don’t groom our yard with tweezers, and we certainly aren’t out until ten pm blowing the leaves off the driveway on summer nights. We garden, for food as well as flowers, and prefer to live in our home rather than keep it as a museum. We are practical do-it-yourselfers on a much lower income than hers. We are not pretentious. If we had a dog, and a fenced back yard, we’d let the dog run loose from time to time, rather than walk it out on the leash to do its business and then tie it up on the driveway. Just trying to give you a picture here!

So it’s a really tough housing market these days, and many houses around here have been on the market a while…and some have decided to try to rent it out because selling wasn’t working. We’d like her house to stay empty as long as possible (for the peace factor, as well as to annoy the heck out of her) and for her to be forced to drop her price. We’d like our new neighbors to get a really good deal, rather than be fleeced. We’d like her to perhaps even take a bit of a hit, price-wise, to make up for the harassment and nastiness she has aimed our way the past few years.

She’s already done something that still puzzles us, considering how much stock she puts in appearances…she has left up (and even restrung) a series of wooden stakes connected by string, adorned with fabric ties, down the property line running down the four-foot wide strip of grass than runs between our driveways. She wanted to erect a fence a few years back, and when my mother mentioned to her that the stakes were on our property, not hers, and she’d better make sure the fence didn’t get built on our property, she had a hissy and called out the city…who apparently told her she couldn’t put up a fence there anyhow. But out of spite, she has left up this ugly series of stakes for three years, repairing it whenever deer trip over it and drag parts off, or when the wind blows it down (she has an amusing little nasty song she sings to herself while repairing it, that blames my son for pulling it down…charming and so creative!) We thought for sure her realtor would advise her to take the eyesore down, but apparently not.

So what could we do, legally, on our property, that would devalue her house, while not affecting our propety values? The neighbor across the street has the market cornered on having too many vehicles in their driveway at any time of the day or night. The house ten doors away is abandoned and starting to seriously decay. We already have the slightly shabby cold frame of tomatoes and peppers facing her property, and the overgrown grape arbor. I currently park my rather dented car in the driveway rather than in tha garage because of a project that’s taking up half the garage. So what other passive-aggresive things can we do? Oh, and we haven’t raked the leaves quite yet, because it keeps raining when we get the chance to go out there. Loud parties aren’t our style…but I could bring my daughter’s loud, boisterous dog over to visit on open house days…

Buy one of those books that advises how to prep your house for sale, and then do the opposite. :smiley:

The sooner she sells it, the sooner she is out of your life. If anything, bake cookies for the people looking at the house.

Get the true property line surveyed and staked before they sell. Or go out there and pull up the stakes that are on your property. They are going to mislead buyers. My parents had a problem with this a few years back. The old owners knew where the true property line was, but the new owners assumed that it extended much further out because the old owners had (accidentally) extended their sprinkler system into my parents’ yard, making more of the area appear to be theirs. There was a lot of misery that transpired over that, and it was all nice people who were involved. Probably would have been a lawsuit if a jerk had been one of the parties.

I was a lawyer on a suit between bad neighbors a few years ago. I can tell you two things:

  1. Being sued by your neighbor can drive down property values, and
  2. You don’t want to get into a pissing contest with your neighbor. It only ends in tears.

Just be glad you are losing the bad neighbor without it costing you thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Install one of these on your house.

Bad Strategy.

You want the house to sell for more money, not less. Yeah, your future ex-neighbor gets more money, but you win in the long run. And that is what counts.

Of particular importance is the class of person who moves in. A difference of $10-$15K is enough to rule out a lot of people that you don’t want to have as neighbors.

Had a house across from us go into foreclosure, sat vacant, was in poor shape to begin with and got worse. Finally got bought as a “fixer-upper”. The property values haven’t recovered and that was about 15 years ago. It was the people moving in later buying the “cheaper” neighboring houses that has really messed things up.

I’m confused. Her property selling for as much as possible drives up your property value. How is driving your property value down a good thing?

For one thing, lowering his property value would lower his property taxes. If he has no inclination to move any time soon, it really might not affect him much. Other than the theorybroken window theory which sounds like it is already taking effect.

You want her to move. Trust me. I was never so glad to move away from a neighbor like that in my life. Even my old neighbors boxwoods were neurotic. Want a nice family to move in next door? Be a nice family next door. Maybe you will luck out. But if you look like sleazeballs, guess what you’ll get?

To give you an idea, we had someone look at our house, they commented that we have too much stuff, my realtor pointed out that none of it conveyed and what the hell did it matter?

So she has already moved out, and you feel peace and contentment… I don’t get it. Why do you want to do this to her? Only out of some twisted sense of revenge? Believe me, if she’s like you say, then being her is punishment enough. It’s sad that people have to be like this.

Sometimes when I hate someone so much I can’t effing see straight, and I want them to die!die!die!, you know what I do? I start loving them. It either freaks them out and they leave, or it pisses them off and they leave, or they start acting loving towards me in return. It’s a win-win! Try it.

I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around this. Why on earth would you want to be so cruel ???

The price of the house will take care of itself naturally. The high price will keep the house unsold until she brings the price down to a reasonable figure.

The strange stakes may be a problem for you in the future, though. Maybe contacting the real estate agent would help.

Otherwise, you can’t control the sale or non sale, so just enjoy the peace and quiet for now.

I don’t know the situation in America, but over here, disputes with neighbours such as the one you had have to be declared when selling the house.

The only thing that should be of concern to you now is getting the best quality neighbor interested in that house to move in. Driving down property values is not a guaranteed method of ensuring that will happen.

Put one of these up right on the property line. The person that moves in is guaranteed to be a quiet, reserved, retired engineer type. Of couse, he will prolly want to put up his own antenna that is bigger than yours, but I think you still end up better off.


Yeah, all the things I can think of (rowdy teens talking loudly and playing music out back during the Open House, garden gnomes and pink flamingos on the lawn) might drive away people who’d also like some peace and quiet.

I agree that the faster the house sells, the better for you. HOWEVER – if you really want it to take a while before it sells – not that this would drive down the price – you may want to take to checking your mailbox/mowing your yard/tinkering in the yard wearing a dirty, torn-up wifebeater and dirty, torn up boxers. Maybe some nice, profane-laced fights between you and your wife while people are looking at the house.

Of course, caveat emptor and all that, because if someone sees your act and still wants to buy the house…they might not be the type neighbor you want.

Hey! That’s about a mile from where I’m sitting right now.

ETA: and I signed the petition to keep it, back in '87.

Seriously? You have to disclose “I hate the hell out of my neighbors. Jesus, what assholes.” at the closing?

Not quite: you have to disclose that you’ve had a dispute, in this case over a fence.