At first sight, the saying "good fences make good neighbors" might seem to imply that the only way to have a good relationship with your neighbor is to physically separate yourselves. But this proverb actually implies that good neighbors are ones who respect each other’s property!
Whether you’re new to a neighborhood or the vacant home next to yours just sold after months on the market, it’s important to start off on the right foot with your neighbors. It’s also important to maintain these working relationships over time.
For instance, let’s say that you’re re-roofing your entire home. From your point of view, it’s a good thing; homeowners insurance quotes online show that you’ll get a discount on your premium, and you can kiss that annoying leak in your kitchen goodbye. But to your next-door neighbors who had no prior knowledge of the renovations, the noise and the construction crews are an unwelcome surprise that only serves to sour the relationship.
No person is an island when it comes to homeownership. Here are four ways to get and stay on your neighborhoods’ good sides:
Make Formal Introductions
It seems like a small act, but polite introductions are key. If you miss the initial "moving in" window, you may be setting yourself up for awkward relations with your neighbors for months or years to come.
A simple handshake and a few minutes of small talk will do nicely, or you can even make a larger gesture like introducing newcomers to the area or inviting them over for dinner.
Communicate Changes Ahead of Time
Above all, the kindest thing you can do is notify your neighbors about changes you plan to make to your property. U.S. News & World Report has a great example: "Warning that you plan to put up a tall fence because your dog can jump high will probably go over better than erecting a privacy fence without any notice."
Simply put, if you don’t let your neighbors know about a fence going up, extensive landscaping work, home renovations or the new in-ground pool going in the backyard, you may be setting everyone up for a giant misunderstanding. They’ll think that it’s rude you didn’t tell them—or worse, accuse you of breaking neighborhood rules—and you’ll just feel defensive in return.
It’s a simple and necessary courtesy to keep your neighbors in the loop.
Keep the Noise Down
You might be a fan of grilling, blasting some tunes and having what feels like a handful of friends over on a summer night. But if your neighbor has to work early the next morning, it’s likely that they’re inside resenting the ruckus and seeing the gathering as a much larger thorn in their side. The last thing you want is an escalating disagreement that ends with the police showing up to cite you for violating local noise ordinances!
Above all, try to respect everyone’s existence. There’s nothing wrong with having fun, but pick the right time, place and venue to do so. What could be fun for you—like a backyard dirt bike track or starting a garage band—might be a justified nuisance for those around you.
Avoid Neighborhood Gossip
One day, you could be gleefully gossiping over the fence with your neighbor. But the next day, you could be the subject of this neighborhood grapevine. It’s best to stay out of tricky interpersonal situations like gossiping about third parties. When you can, neutralize conversation topics and stick with safe bets like your family, your latest DIY project or the trip you’re planning.
To have good neighbors, you must first be one. We hope these four tips will steer you in the right direction and set the tone for a harmonious living situation.
And don’t forget, telling your neighbors isn’t all you should do when you make a major change to your home or property. Certain renovations and updates can earn you a discount on your homeowners insurance premiums, while others mean that you will need additional coverage.
Compare homeowners insurance quotes online with CoverHound today.