Pat Kennedy - Your Washington, DC Real Estate Connection


Curb Appeal: It's Not Just Your Curb That's Important

Sunday, I showed a beautiful home.  There wasn't a single weed in the green lawn.  There were beautiful flowers in bloom, and everything about the place said "Buy me!"  And as we went through the house itself, that message was reinforced by tasteful decor, wonderful space, and lots of sunny space.  Then there was the back yard, with deck, patio with fire pit, hot tub and two-car garage.  Would this be "The One" for my buyers?


Yeah, there was a but.  Like the elephant in the beautifully staged living room.

Just across the street there was, well, Dogpatch.

There were lots of things growing in the front yard, though not in any way that a professional (or even talented ameteur) landscaper would have arranged them.  And then there were lawn ornaments, including some poor pink flamingos that looked like they'd survived a coyote attack.  And there was some more evidence that there could be someone a little eccentric living there.  A bit of camel statuary - OK, you get the idea.

Now, I'm not sure that if I was the seller of that lovely home that I would have the nerve to knock on the neighbor's door and make a request.  Everything about the place was quite deliberate.  And my idea of funkiness is the neighbor's idea of beauty. 

Unfortunately, my idea of funkiness is shared by the vast majority of the buyers out there!


Comment balloon 29 commentsPatricia Kennedy • April 26 2010 09:06PM


That's too bad that the sale of their home can be determined by the look of the neighbor's house. I wish them luck!

Posted by Michael A. Caruso (Surterre Properties) over 10 years ago

It is such a bummer to show property you know really could be the right one~and then......the view accross the street just takes it all away. I don't know that I could have the courage if it was my neighbor to say anything either.......

Posted by Stephanie Reynolds, East County San Diego Homes 619-838-4408 (Integrity First Financial Group, Inc. ) over 10 years ago

Hi Pat ~ I guess we pick our poison.  A little funky lawn art wouldn't bother me as much as motorcycles or dirt bikes for example. Or a super nosy neighbor for that matter. I've come to think that a parking lot as a next door neighbor isn't a bad thing!


Posted by Elizabeth Bolton, Cambridge MA Realtor (RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA) over 10 years ago

Was the VW bus in the garage? Could you hear the Grateful Dead playing in the background?

Posted by Daniel J. Hansmeier over 10 years ago

That's a difficult problem with limited solutions. Do you know if the listing agent talked to the neighbors? Perhaps a nice conversation and offer to help tidy up could help? Just a thought-----

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 10 years ago

There was a time in the eighties in Ballard, a working waterfront community in seattle, when it was common for the seller and/or agent to pay a neighbor to remove the old engine blocks from fishing boats,old trucks and other debris from the neighbor's yard and promise to keep in clean for 60 days. Half now and half later. It worked. Yard debris is a rarity in Ballard now.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 10 years ago

Hi Pat...Having spent quite a bit of time in Egypt on several occasions, I don't think I'd mind the camel statuary.  Maybe someone can call in HGTV'S Curb Appeal...The Block.


Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) over 10 years ago

That is sad! And it probably happens more than it should.  But the opposite is also worth pointing out - anytime I see an awesome view for the property I am showing, I make sure to point it out.  But when it's awful, what can you do except hope they will move!

Posted by Peggy Chirico, REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate (Prudential CT Realty) over 10 years ago

Pat, it's too bad that the neighbors can't help with the sale of another neighbor's home. Are they possibly tenants? Pride of ownership is missing somewhere... ?

Posted by Don Wixom, "Looking out for your next move..."tm (RE/MAX Executives Nampa, ID) over 10 years ago


And then there's the guy with the Christmas lights up in July. What can you do?

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 10 years ago

Again we have the same clients, Pat.  The house I have is next door to a rental owned by one of the top realtors but it looks like the Clampetts live there.  Overgrown yard, broken garage door, until recently plastic on the roof for leaks, and occasionally towels hanging on the open truck window. 

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) over 10 years ago

Hi, Guys!  Actually, the house was owned by the listing agent.  I think the neighbor is an adorable, though eccentric little old lady who does love her flowers and flamingos.  No drugs, no VW bus.  Just plants and yard art.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Oh my pink flamingos!  I guess this little lady is entitled to her eccentric yard art.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 10 years ago

You're right, it's more than curb appeal, it's street appeal.  Don't you love the faded and torn red or blue patio umbrellas that can be seen over the backyard fence? 

Posted by Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers Designated Broker Leolinda Realty, Sun City Grand in Surprise Arizona (Leolinda Realty) over 10 years ago


tis maybe the reason why in many areas people are going for HOAs. There are restrictions, limitations, but they do not look like what you describe

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) over 10 years ago

A tear comes to my eye when I pull up to a saleable listing appt with a nasty home across the street. ug

Posted by Delaware Junk Removal Residential And Commercial Hauling Clean Outs, Whole House Clean Outs, Basements, Garages, Attics (Delaware Junk Removal 302-530-9186) over 10 years ago

This would be something Jeff Foxworthy can use.  So many people judge a book from its cover, but they also need to obviously judge on how the neighbors may end up devaluing their property.  Great post.

Posted by Don Spera, Serving York and Adams County, PA (CR Property Group, LLC) over 10 years ago

The Seller could maybe offer to "help" the neighbor in the garden. A flamingo may be a casualty that can not be avoided!

Posted by Ellie McIntire, Luxury service in Central Maryland (Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Pat - that can really mess up a sale - been there! for me back then the house across from the one I was showing was vacant, being foreclosed on and was the largest home in the neighborhood - it had been vacant for over 2 years and really looked it!!!! Needless to say, we moved on..............

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 10 years ago

Pat - Flamingos in DC?  Interesting.  I have yet to run into a flamingo lawn ornament in my area.

Posted by Michelle Gibson, REALTOR (Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. ) over 10 years ago

Hi Pat, I hit upon this very topic last week in my blog "Your Gasp May Sabotage the Deal" - to each his own - that's a shame for the seller.


Posted by Linda Greco Rich, ABR, SRES, Harford County Specialist (Exit Preferred Realty) over 10 years ago

LOL Pat, many complaints here about that odor from the farm up the road, or... how about the feuding neighbors who put up a bright pink fence, or one even painted the house bright pink.... :D

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 10 years ago

If it's a nice old lady, maybe someone could talk to her.  Would your seller be willing make her an offer?  Maybe tell her that they are selling and they are staging their house and would like to "stage" her yard a bit (for free) just to help their chances? 

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) over 10 years ago

What a bummer.  I hate it when that happens.  You have found the perfect home for your buyer and then wham - a nasty neighbor dog, unkempt yard across the street or too many cars parked out front. 

Posted by Paula McDonald, Ph.D., Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Beam & Branch Realty) over 10 years ago

Pat, Too bad for both your buyer and the seller. So, if the seller convinced the neighbor, how soon do the flamingo's go back in the yard? Perhaps the buyers could just bring in their own set of flamingo's?

Posted by Jane Cross (Homes By Cross serving Charlotte NC Real Estate Needs) over 10 years ago


There are a number of Dogpatch properties out there today with the short sales and foreclosures,hopefully they will be cleaned up shortly.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) over 10 years ago

Howdy and afternoon there Patricia

I get to see a lot of that in this here area. A lot of folks here will also only repaint one side of their home, some of them also only will put siden on one side of their home. Those and many other things they do, is how they keep their property taxs down in this area.

Have a good one


Posted by Dale Baker, New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information (Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections) over 10 years ago

I will take the little old lady and the yard art anytime over the jerk with a beautiful lawn. I have had both and it is an easy choice.

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) over 10 years ago

Someone needs the Prince Mongo of memphis as their neighbor.  He buys homes in great upscale neighbothoods and then applies his touch.  He has broken many a neighbors dreams of a home sale.  He is known to place old toilets, old cars dangling from crains, brightly painted graffati on the house, fence, etc., He is something else.  He prays to the Gods in his yard with many yard objects that normally look like junk yard finds.

Great post.  It served to warn others about the "Prince Mongo's" that show up in any neighborhood.  In the south we simply nickname them RED NECKS!

Posted by Trish O'Connor (Coldwell Banker Heritage Homes) over 10 years ago