Being a good neighbor is more than just biblical; it’s critical to making your new house feel like an actual home. Neighbors are the people you will most likely see every day. Perhaps more importantly, they will be the ones able to watch your house when you’re not around. Whether you are moving into a new home or just need a refresher course on neighborly etiquette, we’ve gathered five tips on how to be a good neighbor.
1. Introduce yourself
As with any relationship, first impressions can be crucial to setting yourself up for success. Your new neighbors could live next to you for years to come, so introducing yourself will make you and your new neighbor more comfortable in your new neighborhood. Also, neighbors can be a great resource for information on the surrounding area. If you’re moving to a new area, introducing yourself to your neighbors is a great way to meet new people. “You can’t meet your neighbors if you’re always inside your house,” explains Cherie Burbach, a friendship expert, in her column for About.com. “Spend a little time outside and when you see your neighbor, walk over and introduce yourself.”
2. Keep your noise reasonable
If you have ever had a noisy neighbor, you know how awful they are. DON’T be that neighbor. Try to adhere to the Golden Rule for this one. If you wouldn’t like someone to mow the lawn at 7 in the morning, don’t play your music audibly past 9 at night. The same goes for special occasions and holidays as well. Diane Gottsman in her 10 Tips To Be a Good Neighbor writes “If you plan on entertaining and having music, let your neighbors know ahead of time and keep it to a reasonable volume. If you play music in your backyard, remember to turn it off when you’re done instead of going inside and forgetting about it as your music plays into the wee hours.”
3. Stay friendly
Arguments can happen. Differences of opinion will arise. No one is the absolute perfect neighbor, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly. If disputes do arise, try to end the dispute with at least a handshake. Neighbors don’t have to be your best friends, but they are your closest friends. Seriously. Gottsman helps us navigate these difficult situations by reminding us to stay calm. “If a problem arises, talk to your neighbor in person first. Approach the situation in a pleasant way, ‘You may not have realized this, but …’ Start here rather than resorting to a nasty note or a call to the police that will be sure to permanently strain your relationship.”
After all of that moving, the last thing you want is a permanent sense of awkward.
4. Keep up your curb appeal
You found the perfect house. Chances are, your neighbor feels the same way about theirs. Keep both your house and theirs valued by being conscious of your curb appeal. Basic lawn maintenance as well as cosmetic upkeep of your house can go a long way about how your neighbors perceive you as well as how your entire neighborhood is perceived by others.
5. Don’t be a party animal, unless you’re a considerate one
Everyone loves a good party. However, no one loves being kept up all night by their neighbors’ parties, especially if they haven’t been invited. If you are going to throw a party, the most polite thing to do is give your neighbor a head’s up. Forewarning may encourage your neighbors to forgive some increased noise levels. If you’re having a large gathering, the best option may be to invite your neighbors. Inviting your neighbors to a barbecue or another more casual occasion will put them at ease and earn you bonus points in their book.
So, there you have it; Five easy steps to make your life — and the lives of those around you — just a little easier. Congratulations on your new home. Now go meet your new neighbors.
Do you have a tip we didn’t share? Please, comment below.