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3 things to do when your neighbors list their home for sale

Zillow logo Zillow 5/26/2017 Brendon DeSimone

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Most people think their real estate concerns end once they've closed on and moved into their new homes. But given the constant access to information and the changing nature of society today, smart homeowners know that their real estate awareness should continue after the closing.

When a neighbor's house goes on the market, there can be some important implications for you. Click ahead for some tips for staying real estate aware.

Document important disclosure items

© Eric Audras/ONOKY/Getty Images For the most part, good fences make good neighbors. But sometimes the folks on the other side of the fence don't cooperate and unresolved neighbor conflicts tend to arise when one of the homes goes on the market.

Have a property line dispute or an issue with a broken fence and want to make sure that the new buyer knows about it? While sellers in most states have a duty to disclose issues to potential buyers, not all areas require this.

Do your new neighbor-to-be a favor and alert the seller’s agent to anything the buyer needs to know about your neighbor’s property.

See things differently

© sturti/iStockphoto/Getty Images Open houses allow buyers to spend some time exploring a home, but these events also present you with a chance to see your home from your neighbor's perspective.

Once, at a busy open house in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood, an open house visitor made a somewhat obvious beeline for the back of the house. He immediately got on the phone, and was clearly communicating with someone about where he was standing, and giving orders to move left and right. It turned out this visitor lived in the home behind, and was checking to see the neighbor's view into his home.

The open house is your chance to check your home's paint job from the neighbor’s yard or simply to see your home from a different perspective.

Know and learn the market in real time

© Izabela Habur/Getty Images Typical sellers claim and save their home online, but also keep searches going after the fact. Why? To keep tabs on the market, see the comps and have a real-time sense of what's happening nearby.

Just like when you were a buyer, knowing about the area and types of homes in the market is a good move for any homeowner. Take a neighboring home for sale as an opportunity to see what the market bears. You can also learn about the latest trends in home design.

Speaking to a real estate agent can help inform you of changes to property taxes, or how assessments are changing in your town. A smart real estate agent, working their listing, will be an incredible resource to would-be clients down the road. Leverage their experience when your neighbor sells.

Take note when your neighbor goes to sell their home. It's not just a time to nose around, but to document, inspect or learn from the home sale. Some homes get listed once in a lifetime. Take advantage of the opportunity.

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Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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