Q: We share a driveway with a neighbour—a person who’s been harassing us for year and often blocks us in. We want to sell our home but worry about him intimidating potential buyers. What can we do?
A. Before doing anything, it’s important to determine whether you feel comfortable—and also safe—communicating your concerns to the neighbour. If the answer is yes, there are a few points you or your real estate agent could make, either verbally or in writing, to help the neighbour understand your point-of-view.
First, it’s in his best financial interest to behave while your house is on the market. If a buyer is able to leverage your neighbour’s antics to purchase your property for less than it’s worth, other homes in the immediate area (including his own) could decline in value.
Making himself scarce is also in his best personal interest. Eventually, someone will buy your house. The neighbour will now have to live beside them—and continue to share the driveway. If he’s unpleasant while the house is for sale, he may drive away some people; on the other hand, the ultimate buyer is more likely to be someone who’s primed for confrontation and willing to take on an antagonist.
Difficult though it may be, try to remain positive during this interaction. Ask your neighbour what can be done to satisfy him—and give him reason to be invested in the sales effort. A quick sale, after all, means you’ll be out of his life.
If the neighbour won’t cooperate, or if it seems like he plans to actively work against the sale, you can try another “good vibes” tactic. Make your open house a boisterous event, with amusements like a gourmet coffee service or food truck, to distract from anything your neighbour might try to pull. Essentially, do whatever you can to curate a super-positive first impression for potential buyers.
Hopefully cooler heads will prevail, but one final word of caution: Regardless of your neighbour’s temperament during the sale process, you may still have to disclose past confrontations over the shared driveway, depending on what information your home’s buyer requests in the contract.