Ten Easy Ways to Sell a Good Home in a Bad Neighborhood


If you are having problems selling your recently remodeled house because the neighborhood is in decline there are things you can do to improve your chances of selling your house in spite of the neighborhood conditions.  The best strategy is to minimize attention paid to the problem areas of your neighborhood and to maximize the neighborhood’s benefits and attractive features.  Here are some strategies to use to sell your house in spite of it’s surroundings.

If the Whole Neighborhood is in Decline

1.  Find the most attractive route to your house, even if it isn’t the most direct and promote that route when giving directions to the house like in the MLS directions or on any handout promoting your house.

The showing appointment starts the minute they enter your neighborhood.  Buyers are looking at nearby shopping areas, parks, schools, and the neighborhood.  Be sure to help them find the positives of your neighborhood and try to minimize the negatives.  If you’re near a shopping center, start your directions there and pick the most attractive route to get to your house.  This will give buyers a more favorable view of your neighborhood.  Advertise this route on MLS under “Driving Directions” and include it in your handouts.  If the route is obviously not the most direct route, then don’t show a map, but list the directions in a step-by-step format.

2. When conducting an open house, only post open house signs directing traffic through the most attractive route to your house.  Don’t put signs up in the bad areas.

Don’t post open house signs in the bad parts of the neighborhood.  Pick the best route and post open house signs on each intersection guiding them to your house.  Put lots of signs up in your yard to let buyers know they’ve arrived at an open house.

3.  Enhance curb appeal by powerwashing and painting your home, trimming trees, bright colored flower beds, and heavily water and fertilize your lawn.

We posted an article that has many great tips for enhancing curb appeal.

4.  Consider owner-financing part or all of the price of the home.

By offering owner-financing, you increase the number of buyers that can afford to buy your home.  There are lots of risks to this so it’s not  for the faint of heart.  You have to screen your buyer and determine if they can pay.  If you’re wrong, you’ll have to foreclose, evict and start all over again.

5.  Spend as little as possible in improvements so you can have more room to lower the price.

This is the most important tip.  More than likely, you’ll have to lower your price to that of the neighborhood’s price range.  If that happens, you’ll want to spend as little as possible to give you the ability to lower the price without losing money or as little money as possible.

If Your Neighbor’s House is the Problem

6.  Show the problem in the MLS photos so buyers will be aware of the problem before coming.

Honesty is the best policy.  If your house is in front of a utility water tower, or next to a school playground, let buyers know about it before they see the property.  Besides the adjacent stigma, also promote the nearby benefits too.

7.  If the neighbors don’t keep their yard properly maintained, offer to mow their yard while your house is for sale.

Sure, it’s extra work, but you guarantee the work is done when you want it, and it’s done to your standards.  It’s always nice to see a row of nicely maintained yards at an open house.  If there’s a public facility across the street, like a school, mow the area near the street.  Be sure to taper the mower on the last row to blend it in with the non-mowed part.   Pick up all litter on the whole block too.

8.  Consider fencing or planting trees and shrubbery to hide unattractive neighboring yards.

Sometimes the best way to deal with unattractive neighborhoods is to hide them from view.  This keeps the buyer focused on your house and minimizes distractions from unattractive features of the neighborhood.

9.  Find the best time of day when the problem area is the least noticeable and schedule showings during that time.

Sometime unattractive features are more unattractive than others.  Schools are certainly less attractive when the streets are congested with traffic from parents picking up their kids from school.  If the neighbors like to hang out on their front lawn and play their music really loud every weekend, you really don’t want to schedule showings during that time.

Find the Right Agent that can Help

10.  Find a good real estate agent that can help you overcome those shortcomings.

Ultimately there’s no hiding a bad neighborhood from buyers.  However, a good Realtor can position your house in the market to make it as attractive as possible given the circumstances.  You need an experienced agent that knows how to show a house at its best.  You can’t afford to leave anything to chance.

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This entry was posted in Selling Your House by Bill Petrey, Realtor. Bookmark the permalink.

About Bill Petrey, Realtor

Bill Petrey, the CEO and Founder of AgentHarvest, has been written about in the Los Angeles Times, Inman News, AOL Real Estate, and Inman Next, among others. He founded AgentHarvest for the sole purpose of making the process of finding a good Realtor better and easier. Bill Petrey is an author and editor of both The AgentHarvest Blog, Real Examples of Really Rotten Realty Blog, and the creator of Really Rotten Realty.

4 thoughts on “Ten Easy Ways to Sell a Good Home in a Bad Neighborhood

  1. The right combination of curb appeal and aggressive pricing should be more than enough to appeal to motivated buyers. If there is a good enough bargain to be had, a buyer will overlook almost anything.

    • Alex:
      I agree. No matter how ugly a house or neighborhood is, it gets more attractive when the price is lowered.

  2. Of course lowering the price will greatly increase the odds of selling your home. My wife and I are trying to sell our house in a neighborhood with a lot of low income neighbors, increasing history of shooting and other crimes. The problem is the people making potential buyers uneasy. They just hang in their front yard and drink and smoke all day. our neighbor’s house should be pushed over. I get it, that is one reason we are wanting out, that and more space. I would be happy to just break even, but that would leave nothing to put toward our next house. I feel that we may end up having to rent the property even though we dont want to be landlords to the caliber of renters in the area.

    • Jonathan:
      Best not to ride it out. Better to take your loss now and escape before the neighborhood’s value plummets to even lower prices. If the neighborhood gets even worse, you may lose even more or all of your investment and it may take decades to rebound if at all. I would also discourage you from landlording in this neighborhood. Low income declining areas are challenging areas to own rentals in and attracts tenants that are often high-maintenance.

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