Some 45% of Brits say they have been so offended by their neighbours’ exterior décor that they have tried to have it removed for fear that it is driving down the value of their property, new research has revealed.
Churchill Home Insurance polled 2,006 people about their attitudes to their neighbours’ exterior décor and found that 45% thought it was reducing the value of their property, while 30% thought their neighbour’s home looked tacky.
Some 5% of those polled admitted they hadn’t bought a property in the past because of the décor of neighbouring houses, while a further 22% say they would be deterred from putting in an offer in the future.
Londoners are most influenced by the look of a neighbouring property, with 9% having been put off making an offer because of the exterior décor.
Decorations that deter home buyers the most are flag poles and brightly painted facades (both 38%), followed by garden gnomes and external decorative lights hung year-round (both 36%), large garden ornaments (33%), and window stickers (24%).
A separate poll by the insurer of more than 100 estate agents found that an unsightly neighbouring property could reduce the cost of the average priced home by £29,000.
When approached by neighbours about removing offensive decorations, 23% of homeowners changed the decorations; 17% listened to the argument but made no changes; 15% sought legal action to help fight for their rights to maintain their home the way they like it; and 9% retaliated by adding even more decorations.
Martin Scott, head of Churchill home insurance, advises: “If you are making any drastic exterior changes, it may be worth speaking to your neighbours first. Anything that may affect the value of someone else’s home is bound to be a sensitive topic.”
He adds: “For larger decorations or items attached to your house, it’s worth ensuring the alterations won’t impact the building itself. Heavy items on the roof, or anything attached to windows or a balcony might weaken the house and its stability. If your home insurer is not informed, it could also affect whether you are covered under your buildings policy. Before changing the structure of your building, check with your local council in case you need planning permission.”