When investing in a property, you are not only buying bricks and mortar, but also the immediate surroundings, which are significantly influenced by your neighbours. Good neighbours can help sell a house and boost its value, whilst bad ones can knock as much as 10% off the price.
So when buying, it’s worth enquiring about a seller’s relationship with the neighbours, and sellers should always be transparent when answering a buyer’s inquiries, as an omission can lead to problems. One buyer successfully sued the previous owners of their property for not disclosing long-running problems with neighbours, and were awarded £67,500 in costs and compensation.
Although by no means a comprehensively reliable guide, when buying a property, the following pointers might help you avoid future headaches:
- How well do the neighbours maintain their property and garden?
- Could any bordering hedges be a potential sticking point? If so, investigate.
- Find out if the surrounding properties are rented or owner-occupied. If rented, what is the turnover of residents, and are they likely to be as interested in maintaining a good relationship with their neighbours as an owner-occupier might be?
- Are the neighbours planning any building work that might interfere with your personal space and privacy? There is nothing to stop you asking them!
- Do they have loud parties? A walk-past on a Saturday night might be useful.
- Do they have numerous loud children running round their garden on a sunny day when you want to enjoy your own garden?
- Is there a pub or club that creates noise nearby?
Tidy, friendly and courteous neighbours undoubtedly contribute to a more pleasant living environment, so a little research before you buy can pay dividends and add not only to your enjoyment of your new home, but also to its value.
Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA MIRPM
Chief Executive Officer