Vacant homes in your neighborhood can hurt the value of your property; here are four things you can do to help prevent your neighbor’s foreclosure from hurting your home.
Even if your home has been safe from the threat of foreclosure, it’s possible that it has still been affected by those who haven’t been so lucky. Foreclosures, especially those that are starting to look run down, can drag down the property values of an entire neighborhood. If the curb appeal of your neighborhood is lacking, so is the value of your home.
And having a foreclosed home or two (or more) in your neighborhood isn’t just potentially bad for curb appeal. It can also invite crime, which could cause your homeowners insurance to increase.
But there are things you and your neighbors can do to help maintain the value of your home—and your neighborhood.
Contact the lender of the foreclosed home
The foreclosure process can be long and can leave a property in limbo until the lender obtains the title. However, once that happens, it is the lender’s responsibility to maintain the property. Make a contact at the bank so you have a go-to person to call whenever there is a problem that needs to be fixed, such as a broken window or overgrown lawn.
If the lender is unresponsive to your requests for repairs, contact the code enforcement division of your city’s building department, which may have the power to charge fines and penalties against the lender.
Set up a Neighborhood Watch
Enlist your neighbors to start a Neighborhood Watch program to keep an eye on foreclosed homes. Pay attention to who is coming in and out of the neighborhood. Report any suspicious activity to the police.
Do minor maintenance yourself
While technically you shouldn’t be on someone else’s property mowing the lawn or trimming the hedges, you may need to do just that in order to maintain the value of your own property. Enlist the help of your neighbors to take turns with minor landscape maintenance to lighten the burden—after all, the vacant homes in the neighborhood hurt their property value as well!
Keep up appearances
Along with maintaining the foreclosed home’s landscaping, there are other things you can do to help ward off criminal activity in a vacant home. Shovel the snow from the sidewalk and driveway, pick up flyers and papers left at the front door, park your car in the driveway—these actions will make the house appear lived-in and will help keep criminal activity at bay.
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