If You’re Buying a Home Near a Nightmare Neighbour, You Might Want to Think Again
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If You’re Buying a Home Near a Nightmare Neighbour, You Might Want to Think Again

Three real-estate professionals dish on dealing with confrontational people living next door to a listing

Thu, Mar 14, 2024 8:50amGrey Clock 3 min

Q: Have you ever had to deal with a nightmare neighbour while showing a home?

Arthur Greenstein, broker associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Dallas

In April 2022, I showed a four-bedroom duplex unit in University Park, near Dallas, to one of my clients. From the second we arrived, I knew there was going to be a serious problem because the next-door neighbour, who lived in the other half of the Midcentury Modern house, was nosy and angry. She would barge into the unit each time I was there with my buyer, trying to find out who her neighbour would be, and she would stand outside the duplex yelling at us about how we parked our cars. She was retired and had a lot of time on her hands, and she acted like she was the mayor of the block. It was difficult because I didn’t want to be confrontational with anyone when showing a house, and she was being intrusive. After she did this a few times, I tried to convince my client not to buy the property because I’ve seen in other situations what an unpleasant neighbour can do to the value and enjoyment of a property. But he purchased it anyway because that area had limited inventory and great schools. After the closing, the problems continued. The neighbour shut off my client’s water and electricity and put a lock on the water meter. He had to call the police to get the utilities turned back on. Over the past year, things have not calmed down. My client is involved in a lawsuit now with the next-door neighbour and the previous owner for not disclosing the adverse condition of having a nightmare neighbour living next-door.


Tom Stuart, associate broker, The Corcoran Group, Brooklyn, N.Y.

In June 2020, I listed a two-bedroom co-op in Brooklyn. This was during Covid, and the neighbour next door was very angry that buyers were coming in and out of the building. At the very first open house, when I was buzzing individual buyers into the building one by one, a buyer informed me that there was a note taped to the door of the apartment. When I went to look, I found a piece of notebook paper taped to the door that said in scrawled handwriting: “Don’t buy this! Rats and Bugs!” I had no idea how many people saw it. The neighbour also called building management and my manager to complain, but everything was being done properly. He started posting signs on the walls of the hallway that said things like “You are being watched!” and “Area under surveillance.” More than once, I caught him with his door cracked open, peeking through, which spooked potential buyers. My sellers were perplexed, but didn’t want to confront him. I was eventually able to sell the apartment, but he didn’t do himself any favours since his efforts certainly meant it took longer to sell the property and, ultimately, more people came through than might have without his interference.

Melvin A. Vieira, Jr., real-estate agent, Re/Max Destiny, Boston

In October 2019, I sold a two-bedroom, Cape Cod-style home in the Hyde Park neighbourhood of Boston. I was representing the seller. Every time I would go over to the house, the seller would yell, “Melvin, close the door, close the door!” I didn’t know what he was talking about, but then he would shout, “It’s too late. She’s there!” And then, his next-door neighbour would appear, a middle-aged woman who was nice, but quirky. She would just walk into the house and start talking about everything going on with the house and the neighbourhood. My client said she was just making it up. It got to the point where I had to sneak into the house. It became a game, almost like an episode of “Mission Impossible.” I would pull up, check for her car, and if I saw it, I would park my car down the block and then walk to the house and go in a side door just to avoid having her see me and come over to interrupt a showing. My client told me she was doing that because she didn’t want him to move. He had lived there since 1996, and she didn’t like change, so she was trying to kill the deal. My strategy was to become friendly with her and have conversations with her away from the house. If I knew someone was going to show the house, I would stop her outside her house and talk to her to distract her. The market was strong, and the house sold within a few days of being listed, so she didn’t slow anything down. And, ironically, she and the new owners get along now.

—Edited from interviews by Robyn A. Friedman


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Whether you prefer the country or the coast, there are plenty of east coast options for cashed up buyers

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There are 10 local council areas scattered along the East Coast of Australia that offer both affordability and solid fundamentals for sustainable future growth, according to the research team at residential property network, PRD. The areas have been selected based on five criterion. They are affordability – defined as a median house price below $600,000, rising house values, strong rental yields to encourage investment, a strong pipeline of residential, commercial and infrastructure projects to facilitate local economic development, and low unemployment.

Here are Australia’s 10 most affordable regional property markets with great future potential.

Mackay, QLD

Mackay is a tropical coastal area located in north Queensland. It’s known for its closeconnection to the Great Barrier Reef. The median house price is $462,750, up 8.9 percent in 2023. Mackay attracts a lot of interstate migrants and is home to more than 120,000 people. It has a healthy economy with an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent and $1.7 billion worth of projects due to commence this year.

Toowoomba, QLD

The Toowoomba median house price was up 10.9 percent in 2023.

Toowoomba is located west of Brisbane and is known for its Victorian buildings, street artand surrounding national parks. The median house price is $560,000, up 10.9 percent in 2023. The city has a population of more than 180,000. The unemployment rate is 4 percentand there is $6.1 billion in projects commencing in 2024.

Townsville, QLD

Townsville is a coastal city in north-eastern Queensland. The median house price is $420,000, up 5 percent in 2023. It is home to more than 200,000 people. Unemployment is very low at 2.5 percent and there is $3.2 billion of projects commencing this year.

Dubbo, NSW

Dubbo is located west of Newcastle in the Orana Region and is home to the Western Plains Zoo. The median house price is $530,000, up 11.6 percent in 2023. The population has exploded in recent years to more than 56,000 people. The unemployment rate is just 2.2percent and the economy is thriving. There is a pipeline of $4.7 billion in projects commencing this year.

Tamworth, NSW

Located in north-east NSW, Tamworth is known for its popular annual Country Music Festival. It’s also the largest retail centre for the New England and Northwest Slopes regions. The median house price is $490,000, up 14 percent in 2023. With a population of more than 65,000 people, the economy is strong with unemployment of just 2 percent and $112.4million worth of projects commencing this year.

Griffith, NSW

Located west of Sydney and northwest of Canberra, Griffith is known for its prime produce production and wine cultivation. The median house price is $531,000, up 2.1 percent in 2023. Griffith’s population is about 27,000 people. The city boasts high economic resilience with a 2 percent unemployment rate and $258.7 million in projects in the pipeline.

Ballarat, VIC

Ballarat, Victoria

Ballarat is a 1.5hour drive west of Melbourne. It’s popular with city commuters who move here for housing affordability and a relaxed lifestyle with easy access to the city via train. The median house price is $570,000, down 4.2 percent in 2023 but up 92.9 percent over the past decade. The city has the third highest population in Victoria at about 118,000. Ballarat has an unemployment rate of 3 percent and a total projects pipeline worth $2.3 billion for 2024.

Shepparton, VIC

Shepparton is a rural area about two hours north of Melbourne. It is popularly referred to as the food bowl of Australia. The median house price is $475,000, up 4.4 percent in 2023. The population is about 70,000. The unemployment rate is just 2 percent and there is $1.8 billion in projects for 2024.

Wodonga, VIC

Wodonga is located on the border of NSW on the southern side of the Murray River. It is approximately 320km from Melbourne and 345km from Canberra. The median house price is $567,250, up 4.7 percent in 2023. With a population of about 44,000, the city’s jobless rate is 3 percent and there is $388.2 million in development set to commence in 2024, primarily new infrastructure.

Burnie, TAS

Burnie is a bustling port city located in Emu Bay in Tasmania’s north-west. Overlooking beaches and parklands, the area is known for its rich agriculture and mining projects. The median house price is $435,000, up 3.6 percent. Despite a rising population, the unemployment rate is falling and is currently 5.6 percent. In 2024, Burnie’s project pipeline is valued at approximately $1.6 billion. A significant portion is commercial development, primarily renewable energy projects.


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This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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