11 Qualities of a Great Neighbor
Being a Realtor in Raleigh, North Carolina, I am constantly hearing from both buyers and sellers about the behaviors of their neighbor's, good or bad.
Whether you live in a city apartment or a house in the country, there are many ways to be a great neighbor. Even small, simple gestures can go a long way. Below, I have laid out some strategies I find most helpful when implementing best neighborly practices.
1. Respect Boundaries
Respecting neighborhood boundaries is quite possibly one of the most important practices to implement. Even doing a seemingly good deed, such as mowing part of your neighbor’s lawn that is closest to your home’s boundary line, is not an acceptable practice. Although this may seem like a good idea, crossing boundary lines and changing their property in any way is a neighborly offense.
2. Keep Community Areas Clean
If you live in an apartment building with common areas such as fitness rooms, lounge areas, etc., be sure to clean up after using the space. If there is a playground or other area that is shared by you and your neighbors, do not litter and always keep the area extra clean. Your neighbors will remember if you don’t!
3. Don’t get too Wild with the Holiday Décor
Decorating for the holidays can be a lot of fun, but keep your neighbors in mind if you think your decorations might be a little out of hand. For example, if you have a blow-up snowman in your front yard that flashes lights throughout the night, consider turning off the lights after 6 or 7 pm so that you won’t keep your neighbors up at night.
4. Keep the Parties to a Minimum
This is especially applicable if you live in an apartment building. Entertaining is a lot of fun, but I advise keeping the parties to a minimum. If you are going to have a large group of guests over, speak with the residents on your floor and the neighbors who live in the unit below you a few days prior to the party letting them know that you will be having some friends over. Assure them that the music will not be loud and that your friends will be respectful. And, while you’re at it, invite your neighbors to come by!
5. Bring a Gift
If you have just moved into the neighborhood, consider stopping by your neighbor’s house with a small gift, such as a candle or potted plant. I don’t advise bringing food items since allergies are so prevalent. Small gifts go a long way, even if it's just a nice hand written letter introducing yourself as a new neighbor it will be appreciated.
6. Exchange Contact Information
When bringing over a gift, try to exchange contact information so that you can be on the lookout for one another should something go wrong. If you look out your window and notice something that doesn’t seem right, such as a water leak, etc., you will want to have a method of contacting them to let them know if they’re not home.
7. Don’t be ‘The Nosy Neighbor’
Most communities have at least one person who is always ahead of the neighborhood gossip. If you think you may have met that person, try not to ask them questions about other neighbors or engage in local gossip. You don’t want to become known as the Nosy Neighbor’s Sidekick!
8. Help Before You’re Asked
This is especially applicable if you have older neighbors. If you notice that they are trying to do yard work and are struggling with carrying items across their lawn, offer to lend them a hand. It goes a long way. Other neighbors will take notice of your behavior and it will become contagious. Give without expectation and it will become contagious among the neighborhood.
9. Keep your Home’s Exterior Clean
This includes your lawn, front porch, sidewalk, driveway, etc. If you notice that your home’s façade is beginning to look a bit run-down, consider applying a fresh coat of paint. Keep trash receptacles out of sight and try to keep lawn and porch items to a minimum. If you live in an apartment building, try to keep umbrellas, shoes, and other items inside your apartment rather than on the outside doorstep. If you have just trekked through a rainstorm and don’t want your shoes and umbrellas dripping all over your apartment, keep the items on your doorstep for an hour or so until they’ve dried and then bring them inside. Don’t leave them out there for days!
10. Mow the Lawn
If you live in a particularly rainy climate, try to stick to mowing your lawn once a week or every two weeks. Try to be on top of maintaining weeds and overgrown trees/shrubs in your yard as well.
11. Start a Neighborhood Newsletter, Email Chain or Facebook Group
If your neighbors are open to it, start a neighborhood newsletter together or an email chain where you can share tips and tricks, local knowledge, or any other trending information happening in your area. This is a great way to bring your community together and help everyone get to know one another.
Hi there! I'm Ryan Fitzgerald, a REALTOR in Raleigh-Durham, NC and the owner of Raleigh Realty. Chances are you and I share a similar passion, Real Estate! I also have a passion for technology, sports, and people. Would love to hear from you. Drop me a note in the comments section below and feel free to share this article socially!