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What to do when the house next door is an eyesore

You keep your home’s front yard neatly trimmed. You yank away weeds every Saturday. And your backyard is free of children’s toys, old furniture and other clutter.

Your neighbor’s home? Not quite.

Maybe your neighbors have lost their home to foreclosure. The property, then, might be empty. And it might be deteriorating quickly. In fact, whenever you look out your living room window, you see a front lawn that’s brown and choked with weeds. Maybe the siding is falling off the sides of your neighbor’s home. The front windows might even be boarded up.

If you’re trying to sell your home, this can be a problem. Buyers might be turned off; they might not want to live next to a home that’s clearly in disrepair. And this is a problem that’s not unusual in Chicago. The city has seen plenty of foreclosures, unfortunately.

You’re not helpless, though, if you live next to an eyesore. A recent story by the Chicago Tribune spells out exactly what you can do to improve the situation.

The first step? Find the owner of the property and inform that person, or entity, that the house has fallen on hard times. You might have to do a bit of digging. The owner isn’t always the lender.

Many communities will levy stiff fines against owners if they let their properties fall into disrepair.

The Tribune story quotes an official with a default management company who says that lenders who own foreclosed homes will usually do whatever they can to fix up a decaying property. These lenders, the official said, don’t want angry neighbors. Besides, it’s in the best interest of lenders to repair a decrepit home as quickly as possible. They’ll struggle to sell it if they don’t.

If contacting the owner doesn’t work, you can try erecting a fence or some other attractive border to block as much as possible the view of the offending home. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than offering potential buyers a full view of a rotting side porch from your newly remodeled kitchen.

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