Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Does the Look of a Neighboring House Effect Value?

Does the Look of a Neighboring House Effect Value?

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!

Comment balloon 12 commentsDonna Harris • February 26 2008 06:11PM


One thing I learned while living in Texas, they don't take kindly to being told what to do with their property. If their home ever catches fire while their in it, they will wish they didn't have those bars on the windows. They also keep Firemen from entering to rescue you.
Posted by Michael Creel (InActive Agent) over 10 years ago
We have always checed out the neighborhood before making a purchase. If something did not look right we would even knock on doors and ask questions. Some people do not take pride in their homes like we think they should. Maybe they will move and you'll get some new neighbors.
Posted by Carl Winters over 10 years ago

Maybe the bars are to keep lions, tigers and bears in the house...oh my!

That really is a shame about not keeping up with the overall look of the neighborhood, although in some cases there could be a good reason for not keeping up with the lawn etc., like an illness, then maybe the neighbors could help out for a while.

Posted by Deborah Burns ~ Seattle Real Estate Agent (Realty Executives -BRIO) over 10 years ago

I'd love that house next to me.  If you think that is bad, then you should meet my neighbor's house next door! He and his house could be a whole blog.   I don't live in an HOA community so there isn't much I can do. 

But overall I don't think it affects value too much but it might scare away some buyers.   

Posted by Linda Box Taylor, Your Plano, TX Realtor (Castle Connections Realty) over 10 years ago

That's just tacky. We each have our different opinion on what looks good. Does having a home with bars on the windows affect property values? Absolutely.

I see more on an issue with newer communities than older communites. In the older communities the homeowners just have to maintain the established landscape. In newer communities the homeowners have to figure out what to put in. And I can certainly tell you that we have not all been watching the same HGTV shows.

Posted by Jill Wente, Realtor, CRS, MCNE, CHMS (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Gary Greene) over 10 years ago

Donna - I feel your pain and frustration on your 'paranoid' neighbor - havent they heard of security systems??  So ridiculous...I guess you could always ask them to let you list their home at a discount when they are ready to move just to get them OUT!!!

Michael C. - Great point about being rescued or getting out - now that is karma waiting to happen (yikes).

Posted by JDo Doe over 10 years ago
Donna, I think the answer is yes or no. I know of a house that was just purchased next to a house with dead grass and dead trees. Why? The buyers got such a steal on the house they were buying. In general I think the neighboring house DOES affect the purchase.
Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 10 years ago

Unfourtunately it does affect the feel of a neighborhood.  When someone sees that they associate with crime.  I grew up in a high crime neigfhborhood in New York!  Yep, everyone had bars on the window!

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 10 years ago

Michael, Yes, I understand, which is why we approached them "suggesting" they make a change, not "telling" them to, but that didn't work.  And I completely agree with you about being trapped in a fire as we mentioned that to them too.  There is no emergency release like regular crime prevention bars.

Carl, I wish they would move, but they only moved in 2 years ago.  This is a fairly homestead community where most are still original owners from 1998-2000 for year built.

Deborah, I agree that lawn is different, and most would knock on their door and check to see if they're ok.

Linda, You can always contact the city if a house is that bad, like cars on blocks and such. 

Jill, In the new communities in my area, the house comes with a standard landscape package that is part of the HOA restrictions.  Must have this many trees and this many minimum bushes, etc... so they don't even have to make those decisions as they're made for them.

Nathan, They're supposed to be "decorative" bars, not security, but the point is that they don't match the decor of the neighborhood, but they also don't even fit the windows properly which makes them look worse.

Gary, Thank you.  I didn't think grass could affect it that much, but wow!

Jim, I agree, thank you.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 10 years ago

I believe neighboring houses do have an effect on each other's property values.  Pride of ownership is reflected at the curb and when selling it's important to note that how your neighborhood curb appeal looks is just another factor when someone is considering your home. By selling your house at a great price everyone's property value benefits. 

Looking at this photo the bars look to me more like decoration than security because they don't go all the way up. Reminds me of something you'd see on a castle.

It's tricky telling someone how you really feel though isn't it if their house isn't up to par or sends the wrong message.

Posted by Karen Otto, Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, (Home Star Staging) over 10 years ago

That's really odd, Donna.  I'm all for individuality in decorating, indoors and out - keeps life from being boring and blah and beige and ticky tacky (good thing I live in Austin, right?) - but those bars look like neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat, and like they bought the wrong size for the windows.  


Posted by Tricia Jumonville, Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense (Bradfield Properties) over 10 years ago

Tricia, That's my main arguement, that they don't even fit the windows so they look really bad and in turn makes it stand out in the neighborhood for others to think it's not the greatest neighborhood. If they fit properly, they would probably look a lot better, and then people wouldn't even notice the bars.  They would just be an extension of the house.

Karen, Yes, they're supposed to be decoration, not security, but they don't fit.  They are the wrong size for those windows.  Tacky!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 10 years ago