The house next door is vacant and in shambles. How do I encourage the owners to sell??

Mama’s house

Dear Funny Problems,

I am a mother with young children and I have a lovely home in a great neighborhood. But, I mean there has to be a but if it’s a problem, the house next to us is vacant. We have lived here for four years and it’s been vacant the whole time. Word on the block is that it hasn’t been lived in for at least seven years. The woman living there passed away and her four adult children (aged 50-60’sh years) have still not decided what to do with the property.  While I believe everyone has a right to do what they please..these people are not maintaining this place. The lawn looks like junk and the house is looking worse. For years I have been nice to the one adult child that does swing by occasionally (usually after someone calls the city due to their overgrown grass), but now when I see him I can’t muster to be friendly. I am so enraged that I have to look at this demise. In addition, I have had multiple people inquire about the house and if the owners would sell. When I told one of the men that inherited the home that I knew of a potential buyer he told me that, “They were waiting for the market to heat up!”  Meanwhile, I have to live next to this mess. Please, do you have any tips on how I can encourage them to put their home on the market??”



Dear Mama,

This is rough.  If these people are paying taxes and doing some maintenance (albeit after the city is called) then I believe it is within their rights to do whatever they wish with their property.  That said, I can imagine how frustrating this is for you. If you can manage it, try not to be judgmental or harsh on them for letting the property go all these years. You can’t change the past and you have no idea what they may be going through themselves.  I’ve read that degeneration in the physical form is often a manifestation of something going on internally. Perhaps the four of them are not on the same page regarding this matter and the home represents that suffering. My suggestion to you is to write them a heartfelt/compassionate letter regarding this situation.  Tell them what you’ve told me. That you love your home and your family and that it is difficult living next to their depressed property. Please don’t be aggressive in your letter, if you are then they could be inclined to match your aggression and raise it. People often reflect a similar energy to the one that is being presented so it’s important that if you want them to respond kindly that you send a warm note.  Let them know how you feel and give them the opportunity to do the right thing. If you don’t feel comfortable signing your name then do not do so.

In the meantime, remember that no neighbor with tall grass beats crappy neighbor with cut grass any day of the week.  I think it’s time you start basking in your no-neighborness. Turn up the radio and dance in your undies like nobody’s watching.  Because mama, nobody is.


1 thought on “The house next door is vacant and in shambles. How do I encourage the owners to sell??

  1. Dear Mama:

    I go along with the Funny Problem host to a point…I would take it one step further. Since you live next to the problem house I might assume there is another neighbor on the other side and others directly across the street facing the neglect. If so, form a committee to advocate for the block and show a united front to the owners. While they are waiting for the market to rise, they are bringing down the value of your property…and theirs. Pretend it is a vacant lot and form a committee to cut the grass for your own sanity. Who knows…maybe you should be careful what you wish for. Perhaps one of the beneficiaries will buy the others out and then you will be stuck with a procrastinator until you die. But wait, in your Will you can you can delay the house distribution for at least a decade so you can get even. There will be much satisfaction as you sigh from your eternal rest: “Gotcha” but I am sure your other neighbors will be pretty upset.


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