Let's Ask Katie - April 2024

Let’s Ask Katie
Expert Advice for all your Real Estate questions from Katie Machoskie

Dear Katie,
We’re thinking of selling. Our next door neighbor has been a problem for many years. She accused our sprinklers of causing damage to a retaining wall (it didn’t and she accused the previous owners of the same thing), she comes over to tell our gardeners how to prune trees, the list goes on and on. Do I have to tell buyers about my difficult neighbor?

Sally in Corona del Mar

Hi Sally,

Disclosing a difficult or nosy neighbor to a potential buyer is not only the right thing to do, but it will also save both parties from future headaches. When selling a property, full disclosure is key to building trust and ensuring a smooth transaction. I always tell my clients, “When in doubt, DISCLOSE!!”

First, transparency builds trust. By openly sharing information about a difficult or nosy neighbor, sellers demonstrate honesty and integrity. This can lead to a stronger relationship with the buyer and reduce the risk of legal disputes in the future. It’s important to disclose facts, not opinions. For example, you could share an email from the neighbor about the retaining wall and how it was resolved. Second, it sets realistic expectations. Buyers have a right to know about any potential issues that may affect their living experience. Being upfront about a challenging neighbor allows buyers to make an informed decision and consider how it may impact their lifestyle. Additionally, it can prevent future conflicts. By disclosing the situation upfront, sellers can avoid potential misunderstandings or surprises down the line. Buyers who are aware of the situation can take proactive steps to address or mitigate any potential issues with the neighbor.

Disclosing a difficult or nosy neighbor to a buyer is not only the right thing to do ethically, but it also sets the stage for a transparent and mutually beneficial real estate transaction.

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