Neighbor's house recently boarded up! Messing up my flip!

64 Replies

I closed on (bought) a flip a little over a month ago. At about the same exact time, the house right next door had every one of their windows and doors boarded up with plywood. As it turns out, the neighbor vacated the house over 6 years ago. I called him and asked him about the situation and he was surprisingly welcome to the conversation. He told me the city told him he had to do it or they would've done it and charged him for it. So he drove in one weekend and did it himself - and in so doing, singlehandedly brought down the value of the neighborhood by a good 20%, if not more. I asked him if he was just going to leave it like that and he said no, that he had a contractor that owes him money that was going to do it. I thought, "yeah right." So I made him an offer to purchase. He declined. Sure enough, 1 month later and nothing has moved. Still boards on windows. Meanwhile, my rehab project is almost done on my flip and I called a realtor to come look at the house. She had very bad news for me, basically saying that the house is unsellable until the neighbor does something with his house. The ARV on the house would normally be around $150k, but she said I'd be lucky to get $95k for it, and $60k-$70k would be more realistic if I were to just unload it. Those were dire numbers even in my most pessimistic days. Obviously I'm not going to do that and will probably just rent it indefinitely until this guy gets his act together. So, this is FAR from ideal... I'd rather take my flip profit and go home.

So my question is, do I have any recourse here? There is no HOA. I've called the city and complained and they said (to the best of my recollection) that the boards are not illegal, but I can complain about grass growing too high, debris, etc. So I did that (because the grass was about a foot high at the time). I've spoken to a few of the neighbors and there seems to be a petition underway. Hopefully that might start things up... but I don't know what the petition is about, and if it will actually do any good... So does anyone have any other creative ideas for this? Do I have any other recourse I could try? I called him back about 2 weeks ago to make him another purchase offer... left VM message and no reply yet... All I really need to do is put new windows/doors on so it's not so painfully obvious that the house has been abandoned... it's just a complete eyesore as-is. It can't just STAY like this... can it?

I'd call him again and keep being persistent about it. Remind him he's paying taxes on a house he's not using and the longer it's vacant,  the higher risk of something happening to it. 

If he were behind on the taxes there might be something there but it seems like it he doesn't care about really getting rid of it. It might mean something to him in someway and is hard to get rid of. I think that it is going to be tough getting through to him because of that. I hope that the guy finally talks with you!

If the boarded up house drops your flip $50 k why dont you just ask the guy if you can lease the house form him clean it up and sell your flip ?  

Nice @Steven Picker !

Renting the place, having the same grass people cut both at once, handyman 2 days worth of work for touch up paint, curtains from the local thrift shop etc. May very well be worth the money. I would try for a month to month.

Good luck!

Send him a written signed offer with a high EM deposit to help sway his attitude.

I would be suspect of your agents opinion that yhou can sell and the home fell by 50% because of one bad house.. now I can see it takes longer to sell. but that seems extreme to me.

Just go to Charleston SC  I have built and sold 500k homes sitting next to dumps that were ready to fall over... and here in Portland same thing you can have brand new next to junk and it does not affect value.  could take a little longer but that's about it.

@Jay Hinrichs thank you, and that thought crossed my mind as well. Before she visited she was giving me comps of $61/sqft and after she visited her estimate decreased by $60k down to equivalent of $24/sqft. That to me is pretty drastic. Just one persons opinion, but then again there is a reason I called her.. that brokerage is "the" one to call in this little area. 

As a renter, perhaps the house next door just doesn't matter, but as an owner - - I wouldn't even get out of the car.  The implication is "this neighborhood is in decline" and that does matter to an owner.

Instead of renting it yourself, offer to assume the role of his property manager.  Do the necessary maintenance and repairs, find a tenant, and you BOTH make a little money.

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :

I would be suspect of your agents opinion that yhou can sell and the home fell by 50% because of one bad house.. now I can see it takes longer to sell. but that seems extreme to me.

Just go to Charleston SC  I have built and sold 500k homes sitting next to dumps that were ready to fall over... and here in Portland same thing you can have brand new next to junk and it does not affect value.  could take a little longer but that's about it.

 Hah ha....Who is buying a $500K home that's ready to fall over next to a dump in Charleston?

Please do me a favor and post a photo.

I could see this happening in SF...Charleston?

@Jon S.   Charleston is my little honey hole you will have to do your own digging

but look at 45 aiken I built that one and sold it to Shep on southern charm surrounded by hood rat homes.. 7 1/2 woodal and 3 woodal check those out I sold 3 for around 400k and 71/2 is pending at 540k

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :

@Jon S.  Charleston is my little honey hole you will have to do your own digging

but look at 45 aiken I built that one and sold it to Shep on southern charm surrounded by hood rat homes.. 7 1/2 woodal and 3 woodal check those out I sold 3 for around 400k and 71/2 is pending at 540k

 I've stayed out of there. I avoid hurricane and tornado areas...plus mostly older housing.

Originally posted by @Jeff B. :

As a renter, perhaps the house next door just doesn't matter, but as an owner - - I wouldn't even get out of the car.  The implication is "this neighborhood is in decline" and that does matter to an owner.

 Is the bottle half full or half empty?    It could just as well mean the neighborhood in transitioning upwards as most are in Charleston.    

Another option would be to offer to rent/lease it monthly and then list it with AirBnB, HomeAway, etc . . .  That way, you'd get money back on it hopefully right away.  Only drawback would be the furnishings, but those can actually be rented by the month!

Why not offer to have the windows and doors replaced. If they are replacement style windows and a simple front door, it might not be too costly (few thousand dollars). It sounds like if he is waiting on A contractor, he might entertain you/your contractor fixing it for him.

@Eliot M.  Please post back as this develops. Interested to see where this goes. Renting the neighbor's house seems like a great option.

@Jon S. @Jay Hinrichs @John Semanchuk

I just have to jump in on this one with a perfect example just to hi-light how absolutely wild downtown Charleston real estate really is.

375 Huger St, Charleston, SC 29403
https://goo.gl/maps/jtSh7kWGw2U2

Please view on the above street view the vacant lot next to literally a boarded up dump.

Now check out this brand new listing:

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/375-Huger-St-D_Charleston_SC_29403_M52493-26829#photo23

For the record, this particular block was practically a war zone as recently as two years ago.

The suggestions from the other members here are great!  

The only thing I can add is the owner could be on the defensive and his pride is going to keep him from doing anything to help.  I would refrain from becoming another person that he is going to have a grudge against.  Let the others in the neighborhood or at the city become the bad guys.  If you can build some rapport with him you may become the excuse to get the property back into shape and rented.  No one is going to bully or force a guy like this into doing something, even if its good for him.  I ran into a guy that said he didn't have to keep up his hard because this was America and its his right....   He eventually started keeping up his hard but only after people quit bugging him about it.

By the way, I have never seen one house drop the value of the entire area by as much as your realtor is spewing out.  150k down to 95k down to 60 or 70k....  This data does not pass the smell test.

You could paint the boards to look like windows and doors to match the house to lessen the eye sore. 

If you want to be awnry keep taking the boards down, oh and dont get caught. You need to find a way to inconvenience the owner to force him to do something. 

@Jim Adrian love it! You may be on to something. I could paint it the color of his house. It would take me half a day, be uber cheap and might camouflage it enough to sell. Thanks!

Originally posted by @Justin Smith :

Jon S. Jay Hinrichs John Semanchuk

I just have to jump in on this one with a perfect example just to hi-light how absolutely wild downtown Charleston real estate really is.

375 Huger St, Charleston, SC 29403
https://goo.gl/maps/jtSh7kWGw2U2

Please view on the above street view the vacant lot next to literally a boarded up dump.

Now check out this brand new listing:

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/3...

For the record, this particular block was practically a war zone as recently as two years ago.

The reason that Charleston hot is because the city did a great got providing incentives for auto manufactures to develop large manufacturing facilities in the area... (ex. Volvo, etc).  Hopefully, it doesn't turn into another Detroit, once they decide to pull out.

www.wsj.com/amp/articles/volvo-car-corp-to-build-plant-in-berkeley-county-sc-1431340237

@Jon S.   good guess.. the auto industry is not any where near Charleston presently.

What you have is BOEING building the 787.. and buying up huge amounts of land

you have the travel industry  ( cruise lines) now establishing this as an embarkaction debarkation site that brought in 15 new hotels under construction.. along with the history and charm of the city its a HUGE tourist area second only to Disney world.. Auto helps for sure but not the end all be all.

And Detroit has no bearing its BMW Mercedes and Volvo..

additionally its much like SF  its a peninsula surrounded by water on 3 sides there is only so much land.

its an Awesome city and place.. and I thankful one of the top flight TV Guru's turned me on to it 4 years ago !!!  ( Guru is a personal friend and one of my clients before he was a Guru LOL)

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :

@Jon S.  good guess.. the auto industry is not any where near Charleston presently.

What you have is BOEING building the 787.. and buying up huge amounts of land

you have the travel industry  ( cruise lines) now establishing this as an embarkaction debarkation site that brought in 15 new hotels under construction.. along with the history and charm of the city its a HUGE tourist area second only to Disney world.. Auto helps for sure but not the end all be all.

And Detroit has no bearing its BMW Mercedes and Volvo..

additionally its much like SF  its a peninsula surrounded by water on 3 sides there is only so much land.

its an Awesome city and place.. and I thankful one of the top flight TV Guru's turned me on to it 4 years ago !!!  ( Guru is a personal friend and one of my clients before he was a Guru LOL)

What? I thought you were the guru?

Unfortunately, I don't buy old housing in hurricane territory...

Updated almost 2 years ago

I spent some time looking, but didn't see many newer properties meeting my investment criteria.

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