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9 smart tips on how to deal with nasty neighbors

Even the most beautiful house in the quietest city can turn into a nightmare if you live next to the wrong people. And dealing with bad neighbors can be enough to marginalize even the most peaceful person.

If you find yourself in this situation or want to do your best to avoid it, you should seek advice from real estate expert Barbara Corcoran's practical advice. Here are the five big culprits in the bad neighbors world and tips on how to deal with them.

Greatest offender

  • The racket manufacturers: We're talking screaming mothers, fighting spouses, horn horns and tire squealers, loud music fanatics and late night partyers.
  • The property line fanatics: Someone who cuts border trees and then sends you the bill.
  • The slob: Like the neighbor who lets the grass grow and leaves the trash can a few days after collection.

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  • The carefree pet owner: This neighbor who leaves “you know what” in the neighborhood.
  • The extreme madmen: Drunks, drug dealers and the neighbor who never says anything.

If you don't want to end up with any of the above as your new neighbors, this is where you can spot them early.

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How to recognize them

  • Cruise the neighborhood at night. You'll see the guy next door while he's at home (instead of at work). Most people make the mistake of seeing a house during the day and checking back a few days later.
  • Talk to the local shopkeepers. They are always the first to tell you who the pain is, who made it stiff, and who is involved in a lawsuit. ("I'm thinking of buying the Smith house. Do you know it? Do you know the street? How are the neighbors?")
  • Walk the neighborhood during rush hour. Not just blocking, but the four blocks around you. Make friends with a few neighbors along the way. ("I'm thinking of buying the Smith House at 12 Maple Avenue. Do you know the neighbors? What are they like?").
  • Pay attention to the signs. Basketball hoops, skateboard ramps, and trampolines are all tell-tale signs of the bat.
  • Watch and listen. Keep your ears open to neighbors barking and unleashed.
  • Poke around the town clerk's office. This is an easy way to find out which neighbors have requested what, such as permits to build a home extension in the next 12 months or a new pool.
  • Take a cyberspace tour with Google Street View to check the area. Enlarge empty lots and backyards that look like a landfill.
  • Check online registrations. Do this to expose the whereabouts of local sex offenders.

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How to deal with bad neighbors

If you're already in the position of having nasty neighbors, here are nine fail-safe strategies:

1. Make a call and choose a time to speak.

2. Meet on the sidewalk or on the property line.

3. Do not blame; Let them know how the problem is bothering you and suggest ways to solve it together.

4. If that doesn't work, check your local noise and disturbance regulations and write a personal letter. Make sure you offer a solution.

5. Consult your condominium or block association. Ask them to send a standard letter with the regulation or bylaws. A housing association's right of first refusal is a little-known clause that allows you to buy your neighbors.

6. If that fails, call your local district. Write down your complaint.

7. Call an expert mediator. (To find a mediator, check with your local courthouse, police station, or bar association).

8. As a last resort, file a complaint in court.

9. Go for the property line fanatic to find out what belongs to whom. Consider surveying the property to nip the problem in the bud.

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This article was originally published on February 23, 2016.