Does the look of neighboring houses effect the value of your house? Do you have a neighbor who doesn't mow their lawn as often as you would like? Or even if they mow it, is the yard all weeds instead of grass? Do you have a neighbor who loves huge rose bushes, but doesn't know how to maintain them, so they make the house look really bad and not taken care of?
What if you were looking at houses in a very nice, suburbian neighborhood in the $400k price range (in the Dallas area, that's over double the average sales price) and you saw bars on the windows of one of the house? Would you all of a sudden think it's an unsafe neighborhood? Or would you think that they were "decorative" bars?
This is a house in my neighborhood. I don't like it. It's not just that there are bars, but the bars don't even fit the windows like they should. We've complained to the HOA, but there is nothing directly in our bylaws that can prohibit them. We've all asked very nicely to remove them. Instead, the bars used to be only on a couple of windows, which looked really bad because it looked like they messed up and forgot the other windows, so upon people asking them to do something, they promptly ADDED more bars to make sure all the windows were covered.
Maybe if the bars went all the way up the windows like they're supposed to, they wouldn't stick out as much, but as they are, people can't help but stare and wonder if the neighborhood is safe.
How do you set your buyers at ease when they make a comment about them? Do you say "to each their own"? Or do you call the listing agent to ask the home owner what the crime is like? Would you want bars on windows in your neighborhood?
If you want to be friends with your neighbors, you might want to blend in a little better. Who knows, when you're ready to sell your home with bars, your neighbors might do something to lower your value like let their grass grow over the 12" limit. Let's all be good neighbors!