Cara Ameer, a top-producing broker associate from Northeast Florida, writes about working with buyers and sellers, sticky situations and real estate marketing in her regular Inman column that publishes every other Wednesday.
There is nothing like waking up in the morning to the sounds of saws buzzing, hammering or the beeping of construction trucks backing up in front of a house. Even better, the loud thunder of dump trucks full of dirt or fork lifts tearing up driveways.
Admittedly, I’ve been a contributor to some of the background noise (and then some) in my neighborhood, which given its age, is a home improvement hot spot.
On any given day of the week there are a few pretty major projects underway. Like it or not, remodeling, construction and repair is a necessary evil of homeownership, and most times, it only helps elevate the neighborhood’s appearance and contributes to positive home values.
Unfortunately, some renovation projects do not just impact the homeowners, but also everyone around them. Here are eight renovations that might cause neighbors to be not so friendly anymore (especially if they’re trying to sell their home).
1. View-altering renovations
Additions and substantial renovations can suddenly obstruct the view of that beautiful vista. There goes the view with the neighbor’s two-story addition or the tear-down and rebuild of a property down the street.
Never mind that the renovations have hit the maximum buildable coverage for the lot, or the new structure is blocking all of the sunlight that would come through on what used to be someone’s sun drenched backyard.
Then there is the neighbor who decided to remove a plethora of mature landscaping so the view of something unsightly, like a large commercial structure or water tower that seemed way off in the distance is suddenly in plain view and seems much closer to surrounding homes.
Translation: Your home’s value just went down by substantially tens of thousands of dollars because of this.
2. The super shed
Oh yes, every neighborhood is bound to have one in a backyard. Despite what covenants and restrictions might say (if a community is subject to them), this neighbor is determined to build one of these because their garage is so packed that they need somewhere else to put “everything else.”
There is nothing like drinking your morning coffee or hosting a barbecue with a super shed right there in plain sight, and if there is a fence, it rises well above the fence line.
Never mind that no one from the “Architectural Review Committee” bothered to take notice when it was being built.
3. The perpetual construction zone
Whatever the owner is doing to their home or yard, it seems like it is taking forever. Months upon months of construction crews coming and going, then weeks with no one showing up at all.
In the meantime, the home sits with a dumpster in the driveway for months on end, and the yard is horribly torn up as a result of all of the comings and goings of workers.
There is nothing that neighbors love more than having to maneuver through a line of parked cars nearly halfway in the street as they make their way to and from their own homes.
4. Exterior color changes
You return home from work one day only to find the neighbor’s house painted in a color that screams bad taste. Who bribed the Architectural Review Committee?
There’s nothing worse than having to live next to or across from something like this on a daily basis.
The colors are nowhere in the general scheme of other homes, and often, this house can be a deterrent to homes nearby that are for sale. Do any sellers really want their home to be remembered as the one that’s next door to that Easter egg-colored house?
5. Outdoor construction (of any kind)
Whether a neighbor is putting in a pool or a large outdoor living space with fire pit, summer kitchen and patio area, you can count on this taking months.
The Bobcat comes to dig up the yard, and there is a clearly defined path of mud in the side yard between two houses. The mess ensures that crews will show up for a bit of time, never to be seen for weeks again.
Pools are particularly the most challenging project to live next to — a huge crater dug in the ground while all the piping goes in before the concrete shell is poured. All of this looks even better when it rains, which of course always happens, and it pushes back the construction crew for a few more weeks.
The homeowners were promised all would be done very soon, but what was quoted as a three to four month job turns into six months later, assuming the pool company is still in business.
If the neighborhood has architectural review guidelines that dictate the type of fences and material used, that’s a relief. But if it doesn’t, be prepared for a menagerie of materials.
This is where shadowbox, PVC and aluminum meet. Maybe this is the start of a new trend in outdoor style? Probably not.
7. Outdoor lighting
Speaking of the outdoors, unless you live in an urban oasis (think Times Square), no one wants to have the landscape lighting package that beautifully complements the brand new plantings the neighbor just spend $25,000 on shining all night long.
Even worse, those brand new motion-sensing spotlights flicker off and on throughout the night, especially when they shine right into the neighbors’ bedrooms. That is a sure-fire way to irritate everyone around you. No one signed up for living on what feels like an airport runway.
8. Tree trimming or removal
Without notice, tree crews just show up out of the blue. The reason being that the homeowners called them so long ago, they forgot about it entirely and couldn’t really give a heads-up to neighbors on either side.
And the next thing you know the sounds of chainsaws and bucket trucks are at work, along with that Bobcat again, plowing through whoever’s backyard to get the neighbor’s jungle cleaned.
Did we miss any? What home renovations do people complain to you about most? Please share in the comments section below.
Cara Ameer is a broker associate and global luxury agent with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.