Homeowners doing renovations can develop feuds with their neighbors if they’re not cognizant of how work on the project affects the rest of the neighborhood. After all, one homeowner’s upgrade could be another’s downgrade. Realtor.com® recently ticked off common home improvement spats.
Additions that block views. Large additions that block views or cast shadows onto a neighboring lot are the most common sources of neighbor disputes involving a remodeling project, according to Mark Grisafe, an architect in Long Beach, Calif. Homeowners would be wise to consider what the neighbors will see from their windows—will they suddenly have a view of a brick wall?—once the addition is built.
Lengthy projects. Tension with neighbors is bound to brew if there’s “a permanent front yard landscape palette that features weeds and a chain-link construction fence that lingers for a year,” Grisafe says. Owners should work with contractors to limit construction noise and traffic congestion as much as possible to be respectful of the neighbors.
Distracting colors. “Bright primary colors are just not proper for exterior use unless you live in Key West or the Caribbean,” says Juan Carlos Daetz, a home design expert at Max Warehouse. “Any color that goes against the theme or general use of the neighborhood can be distracting and may harm property values.” Owners should consult HOA guidelines and neighborhood covenants when tackling an exterior paint job.
Too much lighting. “Make sure [construction] lights aren’t aimed at your neighbors’ windows, and be considerate about the hours that you use high-beam lights,” says Brad Woods, owner of American Turf and Tree Care in Colorado.
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