7 Neighbors That Can Hurt Your Home

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Woody Allen once said, “We’re all our brother’s keepers, but in my case I share that honor with the Prospect Park Zoo.”

Bad neighbors are nothing to laugh about, according to the Appraisal Institute. An unkempt yard, close proximity to a sex offender or having an unfortunate commercial facility nearby (such as a power plant or funeral home), can reduce the value of surrounding homes by as much as 15%.

“The impact can vary tremendously depending on a few factors: how ‘bad’ the bad neighbor is, the kind of neighborhood you’re located in and the type of market that exists,” says Carlos Gobel, director of residential services at Integra Realty Resources in Miami.

But what exactly is a “bad” neighbor? Definitions vary, but real estate professionals say it boils down to any home or business enterprise that turns people off.

“A bad neighbor is one that has no consideration for the rest of the community,” says Mindy Pordes, co-founder of Pordes Residential Sales & Marketing in Aventura, Fla. “For example, someone who doesn't take care of the outside appearance of the home, such as the gardening, painting of the outside of the home, roof, garbage and general upkeep. In addition, a bad neighbor may have constant visitors taking up parking spaces, perhaps on the street, loud house parties, dogs that bark all night or stray cats lingering around.”

A “bad” neighbor can also be a business or government enterprise whose very existence drives the value of your property down. Here, the seven surprising neighbors that can reduce your home’s value:

Power Plants. The data are fairly clear on the impact of power plants on nearby home values – it usually hurts them. A study from the University of California at Berkeley shows that home values within two miles of a power plant can decrease between 4% and 7%.

Landfills. A study from the Pima County (Arizona) Assessor’s office shows that a subdivision near a landfill (and all other residential factors being equal, including house size, school quality and residential incomes) loses 6% to 10% in value compared with a subdivision that isn’t near a dump.

Robert A. Simons, an urban planning professor at Cleveland State University, says that if you live within two miles of a Superfund site (a landfill that the government designates as a hazardous waste site), your home’s value could decline by up to 15%.