When calculating the value of a property, an appraiser also factors in surrounding conditions. Neighborhood nuisances like an overgrown yard or a resistant odor could, in some cases, bring down the value of adjacent homes by 5 to 10 percent, according to the Appraisal Institute.

Making sense of the story

  • What a homeowner might refer to as a bad neighbor, the appraisal industry calls “external obsolescence” – depreciation caused by factors off the property and beyond the homeowner’s control.
  • Some issues are not always permanent and an appraiser may overlook them. But an obvious eyesore, like a yard cluttered with old cars, for example, may be enough to prevent a neighboring property from selling.
  • The perception of what’s unsightly varies by neighborhood. It’s possible that even a roof covered with large solar panels might be considered obtrusive in some areas, though the impact on nearby homes would be far less negative than if the property was run-down.
  • Some neighborhood annoyances may be potentially mitigated with help from the local municipality. Unregistered vehicles in a yard, for instance, or a chicken coop and thumping late-night music, may violate local ordinances.
  • Real estate professionals recommend homeowners work directly with their neighbor before making a complaint, to avoid future problems.