Adapted from The Real Estate Book Blog Spot
Seeing people bringing a tall ladder or power tool from a neighbor’s house to theirs is a common sight on the neighborhood block. In the evenings many of us sit outside on the front porch relaxing, and catch up with others who walk by with their dogs or are just out for an evening stroll.
Getting along (or not getting along) with neighbors can make a huge impact on our daily lives and how we feel about our home and neighborhood. Whether you live in the city, the country or somewhere in between, learning the art of being neighborly is something that can benefit us all. Here are six ways to navigate the etiquette of being a good neighbor.
1. Be friendly
If you are new to the neighborhood, a friendly smile and hello can go a long way toward establishing rapport with neighbors. Introduce yourself when you run into a neighbor you
haven’t met yet. And if you’ve been there awhile and someone new has just moved in, a small gift, like home-baked goods (or a treat from a favorite local shop), is a thoughtful way to welcome him or her.
~Pictured Above: The Vista Interior, Estates Community
2. Be considerate about noise
As a rule, keep music and loud outdoor conversations down after 9 p.m., and try not to start up the power tools or leaf blower before 8 or 9 a.m. If you are planning a party, try to let your neighbors know in advance — and if you enjoy throwing frequent parties, it’s not a bad idea to invite your neighbors to one!
If it’s your neighbors who are being too noisy, your first step should be a polite knock on the door. Tell them, without sounding angry, that you understand they are having a great time, have friends visiting etc., but it’s getting too loud for you, and could they please turn the music down or take the party indoors after a time you feel is appropriate? Be sure to thank them when they do what you’ve asked.
~Pictured Above: The Berkley Interior, Newberry Trails Community
3. Deal with problems in person
Just as when your neighbors are being too noisy, any other problem should be addressed promptly and in person. It may seem easier to write a note or dash off an email, but written complaints can seem more mean spirited than you intended, and may shut down communication with that neighbor in the future. Give your neighbor a chance to hear what you have to say in a face-to-face chat, and then listen to his or her side as well.
Remember, your neighbor is likely not going anywhere, so even if you do not particularly like him or her, it is in your interest to find a way to get through it together.
On a related note, don’t gossip about other neighbors! It may feel like bonding to complain about shared problems, but gossiping generally only deteriorates relationships.
4. Be reasonable about pets
This can be a big point of contention among neighbors, so try to tread lightly whether you are the pet owner or the one being bothered by a neighbor’s pets. If something happens once or twice — loud barking, poop on your lawn etc. — take a deep breath (well, maybe step away from the poop first …) and let it go. If there is an ongoing problem, discuss it directly with your neighbor. Even if you are upset, try to think of something kind to say about your neighbor’s pet before launching into the complaint section of your talk.
For pet owners, if a neighbor approaches you with a complaint about your animals, do your best to listen and acknowledge their feelings. Assure them you will do what you can to remedy the situation — scoop the poop, keep your dog on a leash, repair the fence and pay for training if needed.
If you have more unusual pets, such as chickens, it is wise to contact neighbors early on to inform and educate them about their new animal neighbors, and assure them you are taking steps to care for the animals properly so they won’t be a problem — that would also probably be a good time to hand over a basket of fresh eggs! And always, always let neighbors know they can come to you if your pets are being a nuisance.
~Pictured Above: The Olympic Exterior, Heritage Grove Community
5. Respect common spaces
Keep shared entrances, and common areas clear of personal belongings. Even though space may be tight inside your home it’s important to find another place for that stroller or bicycle — crowded common area and parks can become a challenge.
In outdoor spaces be aware of your drifting barbecue smoke — gas grills are an excellent option to reduce smoke. If you smoke, be respectful by not smoking where others may get secondhand smoke.
6. Follow parking etiquette.
Always try to park in front of your own house if possible, and never block neighbors’ driveways. In some neighborhoods with narrow streets, it is the custom for everyone to park on only one side — even if it’s not an official rule, it is best to follow suit.
~Pictured Above: The Juniper Exterior, Newberry Trails Community
Building good relationships with neighbors often comes down to the little things. If your garden produces a bumper crop of tomatoes, bring a basket next door to share. Trade tools and skills. Be generous with smiles and be willing to lend a hand if it’s needed. And you don’t need to be part of a neighborhood watch to help keep your neighborhood feeling a bit safer — simply knowing your neighbors and occasionally chatting with them can go a long way. Let your immediate neighbors know if you will be out of town, and whether you will be having anyone stay at your home while you are gone.
If your neighborhood doesn’t already have any events, consider organizing one. Annual events like a block party, an open house or a neighborhood yard sale are a great way to build a sense of community and get to know your neighbors.
Being a good neighbor as well as having wonderful neighbors has its perks! What better way is there to enjoy living at your Rush home, than to establish a friendly neighborhood community?
~Pictured Above: The Majestic Exterior, Newberry Trails Community
Contact us for more advice and assistance on settling in to your home and neighborhood. We are always happy to help!