Being a good neighbor takes more than sharing the occasional cup of sugar or a couple of eggs. Here are our top ten tips for being a good neighbor in the Pacific Northwest.
According to a FindLaw.com survey, 42% of Americans say they have been in some type of dispute with their neighbors before. When you’re feuding with people in your neighborhood, it can turn the one place you should feel safe and relaxed into your unhappy place. Some disputes even escalate to the court system, which can be incredibly expensive, or lead one or more parties to move somewhere else instead. Let’s take a closer look at some of the things that can set these disagreements off.
10 Ways to Tell If You’re A Good Neighbor
Keep the Noise Down
Nearly half of all disputes (48%) between neighbors are due to noise; in fact, being too loud is the number one way to annoy your neighbors. Keeping the noise down can be especially challenging in situations where homes are close together or even have shared walls; however, finding out when it’s most important to your neighbors that it’s quiet (such as when they sleep, put their kids to bed, etc.) and making an extra effort to keep the noise down during those times can help.
Be Responsible for Your Pets
Not everyone things your favorite furry friend is as cute as you do. Nearly one in three neighbors’ disputes is about pets. From cleaning up the do-do to making sure your pets aren’t barking or meowing incessantly, left unattended, on the loose, etc., it’s really important for you to be diligent as a pet owner. Likewise, remember that many people have pet-related allergies. Before inviting the neighbors in, make sure you let them know of any pets you have indoors.
Be Responsible for Your Children
In some states parents can be held responsible for their children’s actions; and, regardless, if your child inadvertently or purposefully causes a problem for a neighbor, being a good neighbor sometimes comes down to apologizing (and encouraging your child to apologize) and going the extra effort to make things right. This can also be a valuable teaching moment where your child participates in remedies like cleaning, repairing, etc.
Mind the Appearance
If your yard is constantly overgrown, run down, trash or broken tools are visible to neighbors, the paint’s peeling, you’ve tarped instead of repaired your roof, boards are hanging free on your fence, and so on – you are the weakest link (or in this case, the neighborhood eyesore). Even simply leaving things out (bicycles, tools, etc.) creates clutter and detracts from the appearance of your home and neighborhood. Part of being a good neighbor is realizing how your actions impact other people.
Don’t Overstep Your Boundaries
One of the great things about being a home owner is having the ability to put your personal stamp on your home and yard, inside and out. But it’s important to remember that many of the things you do affect your neighbors in some way.
Be considerate of activities which impact your neighbor’s yards as well as community sidewalks and parking. Think through how changes you make to your own yard’s fences or decks might impact your neighbor’s yard or privacy. Before making major changes, check with your neighbors and ensure everyone has the same understanding of where property boundaries lie, or bring in an authority who can clear up any misunderstandings.
Introduce yourself. Invite the neighbors over for a cold drink on a warm summer evening. Offer to lend a hand if you see them out working in the yard or doing a big project. Let them know if you’re going to be having people over or if you’re going to be out of town.
Even if your street has a neighborhood watch program, you can still help look out for any signs that a neighbor’s home has been broken into, packages have been stolen from their porch, or you don’t recognize the people coming and going from the home.
There are many activities which are made even better by neighborhood-wide efforts, like garage sales, spring yard and sidewalk cleaning, raking and removal of fall leaves, and so on. Take the lead in coordinating and communicating so that people are aware of upcoming activities and have a chance to take part.
We don’t get a lot of snow in the Pacific Northwest, but when we do, driveways and sidewalks can be especially slick. You might be better equipped physically or in the tools department to clear a path not just for you, but for your neighbor. Little act of kindness like these might be small to you, but they can mean a lot to your neighbor. It’s sure to be appreciated for a long time to come.
No one wants to find out they’ve been the subject of neighbor’s conversations behind their backs. Sharing information constructively (such as organizing meals when someone brings a new baby home or falls ill) is great, but remember the golden rule: Do unto others as you’d have them do for you.
If you’ve just moved into one of our new Pacific Northwest new home communities, this helpful infographic has some good tips for how you can get acquainted with your new neighbors and get involved in making your community a better place to be.