Should I Be Worried About Backyard Neighbors

3 Replies

Hi All, 

I'm a newbie to RE, but have been studying BP and reading a ton of books hoping to learn and build enough confidence to finally dive in. I'm an Electrical Engineer, 29 years old, a native Houstonian and excited to be a part of this community and begin this new RE journey. I'm currently looking to get into RE by investing in rental properties. I'm primarily focusing on SFR in the Katy area. From what I've researched it's a good area for rentals, and it's also not too far from where I live.

I've been looking for properties for about 6 months now and have felt that I've been stuck in the analysis paralysis phase for a while. I have seen a few houses within these 6 months, but so far the houses I've seen have had some type of major repair work that wasn't visible in the pictures. 

Anyways, to the question. Yesterday I went to go see a house I was interested in. The numbers worked, and the house looks nice. The backyards of the surrounding neighbors though, didn't look very nice. 3 out of 5 had sheds in their backyards that looked like they were falling apart, and one of the sheds was almost as tall as the house. 2 out of 5 also had a canopy/tent type thing and they both were discolored with holes in them, but they were still propped up. These were clearly visible from the dining room window, the kitchen window, and of course the back yard. The neighborhood looks nice (I would say class B), I even drove around the other side of the block to look at houses with the sheds and they look nice from the outside. So I was wondering if anyone has been in a similar situation, and if this is something I should pass on? How bad of an impact could this sort of thing have? Are there any solutions to this? I was brainstorming and couldn't really see a solution besides maybe planting a tree to try to cover up the tallest shed. 

Any input is greatly appreciated! I know I'm new here, but if there's ever anyway I can help with anything, please, don't hesitate to ask. Also, I'm up for meeting local members of BP, so if anyone ever wants to bounce ideas off of each other, I'd be open to meeting for coffee/drinks. 



It’s good you are considering these things but consider the bigger picture. If the neighborhood is geared more to owner occupants and you will plan to sell sooner than the neighbors then I might be more concerned. I once bought a house with a power line visible in the backyard and it turned away a lot of buyers. But the things you refer to are not permanent. If I planned to hold onto the property for many years I would worry much less. If the numbers work and you feel good about the house otherwise I say “go for it!” There will always be some sort of issue...crazy barking dog, screaming kids leaping off trampolines, ghosts (yep! next door was supposedly haunted). As long as there’s no uranium buried in the backyard and it makes good business sense I would overlook the neighbors’ temporary unsightliness.

What part of Katy are you looking at? In my experience, and you may know this, but Katy on the south side of I-10 is much more desirable than the north. I own a home in Memorial Parkway and have been looking at other homes in that area, but they are like you mentioned, in need of repairs that probably aren’t visible in photos. Most of these homes were built 40 years ago and need some major updating, to the point that a tear down might be an option. That’s what we did. Katy is a great area, and growing fast! Also, most of the rents in that area are about $1,500 per month.

Thanks Tony for your input! Unfortunately we tried to put in an offer and apparently that house is already under contract, but the selling agent forgot to update the MLS/HAR. Oh, well, back to the drawing board I guess.

Dalton, I've been looking in all four quadrants of I-10 and 99. From what I've re-searched, you're correct in saying that the south side of I-10 is more desirable, but if the numbers work, I don't mind looking at houses on the north side of I-10. This particular house I went to look at yesterday was on the north side of I-10 and on the west side of 99. I feel like there aren't as many houses on the market on the south side of I-10 for under $200k, which is what I want to stay under. I haven't really looked into Memorial, or any other area really. If you care to share some advice on other areas to focus on I would really appreciate it. 

Thanks guys.  

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