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If Sloppy Joe Is Your Neighbor ...

July 5, 2007
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Talk about fireworks: In a recent ServiceMagic.com survey, an overwhelming number of homeowners say they have a neighbor on their block who needs to do more to improve the appearance of his or her home.

"Inevitably, there will be at least one homeowner in a neighborhood who lives in 'that house,' " according to David Lupberger, the home-improvement expert for ServiceMagic.com, a Web site connecting homeowners with thousands of prescreened and customer-rated home-service professionals. "Whether it's a yard with tall weeds, junk cars in the driveway or on the lawn or just a bad paint job, there seems to always be a house that others say could use some -- or a lot of -- improvement."

More than 900 people responded to the nationwide survey, with 63 percent saying that they have or have had a neighbor who makes the neighborhood look bad by not taking care of the outside of their homes. Twenty-one percent admitted that it was probably their own home that everyone else was talking badly about.

When asked if more should be done to crack down on those who are "bringing down the neighborhood," an overwhelming majority -- 81 percent -- answered "yes."

Says Lupberger: "If you know you live in 'that house,' take advantage of the great weather to get some of this work done. It might ease any existing tensions with your neighbors. And you might be surprised at how much enjoyment you get from fixing up your home, especially after the work is done."

Respondents to the survey indicate that there's often a combination of things their neighbor needs to fix. Here's a breakdown of what annoys them:

Take Care of Weeds 64 percent

Keep their lawn watered/mowed 63 percent

Haul Junk Away 57 percent

Paint the Home's Exterior 42 percent

Remove Junk Cars 42 percent

Repair a Visible Defect in the House 39 percent

Quit Parking on the Street 24 percent

Snitching? The survey asked respondents if they'd snitched on their neighbors to the authorities or the Homeowner's Association. The responses:

No, we just put up with it 41 percent

Not Yet 23 percent

Yes 22 percent

Someone else beat me to it 14 percent

Respondents were also asked if they'd personally confronted their neighbor about their thoughts on the issue. Some 75 percent replied with a "no." 

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