I understand the motivation behind rottenneighbor.com, the new site that mashes up google maps with user-provided complaints about their bad neighbors. What I don’t understand is why people actually think this is a good idea.
As the site says, “Real estate agents will never tell you about bad neighbors.” That is true. The reason? Real estate agents representing the seller have a fiduciary duty to work in the seller’s best interest. And warning prospective buyers about the noisy dog, garage band, or junkie next door isn’t likely to help sell the house.
That’s the point the makers of the site emphasize: You won’t hear the dirt about the neighbors from the sellers, so check rottenneighbor.com. What prospective home buyer wouldn’t like to know about problem neighbors before they made an offer on a property?
But by asking homeowners to rat out their bad neighbors, the site essentially requests that people publish reasons why someone shouldn’t buy their house. Who would do that?
Judging by the results I found when I entered my zipcode on the site, at least a few people in the Twin Cities saw past their self-interest to enrich rottenneighbor.com with free content. Sure, it can be cathartic to complain about a rotten neighbor online, but it seems like a bad, short-sighted idea.
Fortunately, the site tells me there are no rotten neighbors anywhere near my house. But I already knew that.