Good neigh­bours

Central and North Burnett Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

WHETHER you are mov­ing in or mov­ing out there’s a lot more at­tached to a home than you-beaut sheds, fetch­ing fences or rav­ish­ing range hoods.

Like it or not, one of the most im­por­tant as­pects of a home doesn’t come with an in­spec­tors li­cense or pro­fes­sional ap­proval and you can’t give it a flick and a kick to see if it is func­tional ei­ther.

Your neigh­bours, for bet­ter or for worse, are a big part of your home whether you’re mov­ing into a new one or mov­ing out of your old one.

Neigh­bours can play a big part in help­ing (or hin­der­ing) the process of sell­ing your home.

If you’ve got your house on the mar­ket and you find your­self liv­ing next door to the neigh­bours from hell there are a cou­ple of is­sues to con­sider.

Firstly ask your­self whether they are go­ing to jeop­ar­dize your ef­forts to sell your home, and se­condly, is it un­scrupu­lous (or just down­right unAus­tralian) to keep your freak neigh­bours out of eye­shot from the poor un­sus­pect­ing schmucks that will have to put up with them af­ter buy­ing your house

Here’s a few ways you can work on solv­ing the prob­lem of not-so-neigh­bourly neigh­bours so you can sell your home with peace of mind and a clear con­science.

Per­haps they prac­tice the trom­bone each af­ter­noon on the porch, have never end­ing ren­o­va­tions, or are com­pul­sive hoard­ers with a junk­yard en­croach­ing on your gar­den.

Talk it over

Your first port of call in re­solv­ing any neigh­bour­hood prob­lems should be to talk it over and try to reach a so­lu­tion that suits you both.

While you might want to seek le­gal ad­vice about your rights and how to go about fix­ing the sit­u­a­tion, go­ing to court can be ex­pen­sive and leave the par­ties bit­terly an­tag­o­nis­tic to­wards each other.

Al­ways con­sider me­di­a­tion and pur­sue le­gal ac­tion as a last re­sort.

If you're try­ing to sell, pay the neigh­bours a visit or slip them a note ex­plain­ing the is­sue and tact­fully sug­gest how they could help.

If they're own­ers, re­mind them that get­ting a good price for your home will mean a bet­ter price for them down the track.

Re­mem­ber: un­less you've ap­proached them be­fore they might have no idea that their be­hav­iour is im­pact­ing on you, and there might be a rea­son for it.

Maybe their yard is messy be­cause they're suf­fer­ing a long term ill­ness or car­ing for a rel­a­tive. Try to see it from their per­spec­tive.

Is it le­gal?

Are your neigh­bour’s prob­lems ac­tiv­i­ties il­le­gal?

There are the re­ally ob­vi­ous ones: drugs, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence or ha­rass- ment. But did you know that burn­ing off is il­le­gal? Tres­pass­ing with­out au­thor­ity on your land is also il­le­gal.

Check with your lo­cal po­lice or coun­cil if you’re un­sure.

Noisy Neigh­bours

One of the most com­mon prob­lems is noisy neigh­bours: loud mu­sic, par­ties, power tools and wooden floors in the unit above to name just a few. Check your lo­cal coun­cil’s guide­lines on noise, the En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Au­thor­ity, or the strata by­laws if you're in a unit.

Let your neigh­bours know in ad­vance when your home will be open for in­spec­tion, and ask nicely if they'd mind keep­ing the noise down dur­ing that time.

If it’s an on­go­ing prob­lem and you don’t think this would work (maybe you live next door to a pi­ano teacher with reg­u­lar Satur­day classes) work around it with your agent by sched­ul­ing open homes at times that are qui­etest.

Give us some pri­vacy

If pri­vacy is an is­sue there are many cheap reme­dies.

In­stall cur­tains or blinds on win­dows, plant a hedge, strate­gi­cally place some pot plants, build a higher fence, in­stall a pri­vacy screen or sim­ply ask the neigh­bour po­litely if they’d please stop stand­ing on that milk crate and pop­ping their head over the fence ev­ery five min­utes.

Park­ing dis­putes

As hous­ing de­vel­op­ments be­come in­creas­ingly high den­sity, park­ing space is of­ten a con­tentious is­sue. Maybe your neigh­bour has a boat, skip or trailer parked on a per­ma­nent ba­sis. Can they store it else­where while your home is on the mar­ket?

Set your bound­aries

A top cause of neigh­bour­hood dis­putes are bound­ary prob­lems – specif­i­cally trees and fences.

Trees can over­hang fences, dis­rupt views and their roots can cause dam­age to paths and pipes on sur­round­ing properties. If you have th­ese prob­lems check with your lo­cal coun­cil for their reg­u­la­tions in the first in­stance.

While there's no le­gal obli­ga­tion to have a fence, most peo­ple like a lit­tle some­thing be­tween them and their neigh­bour and most buy­ers want it to be in good con­di­tion.

The cost of in­stalling or re­pair­ing a fence is typ­i­cally shared by both par­ties. If a fence is not on the le­gal bound­ary dis­putes can arise, par­tic­u­larly when sell­ing. The onus is on the buyer to have a sur­vey. Be a good neigh­bour your­self What goes around comes around. If you're look­ing for good karma from your neigh­bours you might want to give them some love too.

Get­ting to know your neigh­bours can be one way to pre­vent trou­bles fur­ther down the track.

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