Living in a neighborhood can be great. After all, when you need to borrow a cup of sugar or want someone to bring in your mail while you’re on vacation, neighbors are great to have around.
Of course, living in a neighborhood isn’t always family barbecues and block parties. Sometimes, neighbors can be downright annoying. And it’s not just being nosy or noisy. The way people take care of their property – or don’t – can also be a source of irritation. Some neighborhoods have a homeowner’s association to set and enforce rules about taking care of your home, but if you don’t have an HOA, it can sometimes feel like the Wild West.
Since you can’t control what other people do, and only control yourself, you can take steps that will make you everyone’s favorite neighbor and help your home look great in the process.
Take Care of Your Lawn
Even when there isn’t an HOA to set guidelines, most municipalities have rules about how high your grass can be and require homeowners to deal with overgrown lawns and weeds. So, taking care of your lawn isn’t just something that makes your yard look nice, but can help you avoid fines and other problems. Regularly mowing your grass and doing your best to keep weeds and pests away will keep your house from looking abandoned, and depending on your neighborhood, might even spur some friendly competition to see who can get the best-looking lawn. At the very least, when you put in the work, expect your neighbors to come to you for lawn care tips.
We’ve all had that neighbor: The one who walks his 150-pound dog every night and leaves “gifts” for the neighbors to find in the morning. Again, it’s not only common courtesy to clean up after your pets, but in most places, it’s the law.
However, it’s not just animals that you need to clean up after. Big storm hits and knocks over a tree? Have it taken care of as soon as possible, especially if it encroaches on the neighbor’s property. The wind blew over your trash can and now your garbage is littering the neighborhood? Don’t wait for someone else to clean it up. Keeping your property neat and tidy will inspire others to do the same, and you won’t be the annoying neighbor making a mess for others to clean up.
Work on Your Curb Appeal
There’s a saying in real estate that curb appeal is contagious. In other words, working on your house and making it look as nice as possible is likely to inspire your neighbors to do the same. This doesn’t mean you need to invest thousands of dollars in landscaping and put in prize-winning rosebushes. Adding a few window boxes full of colorful flowers, cutting back overgrown shrubs, or putting a fresh coat of paint on your fence can all improve your home’s curb appeal. Even if they aren’t inspired to work on their own homes, seeing what you are doing to improve yours will make your neighbors happy.
Maintaining curb appeal is also important if you’re ever thinking of selling your home – and how your home looks matters when buyers look at other properties as well. If one of your neighbor’s homes is on the market, do them a favor and keep your home looking nice to help entice buyers.
Keeping your home looking great can go a long way toward maintaining a friendly neighborhood, but you can have the nicest home in town and it won’t matter if you aren’t considerate. Keep your neighbors in mind while you go about your business, and avoid things like:
- Leaving your garbage cans out on the curb for days after trash day.
- Raking your leaves into the neighbor’s yard, or worse, into the street.
- Letting your visitors park in front of a neighbor’s house without talking to them first.
- Letting your dog bark excessively.
- Going overboard with holiday displays that disturb everyone’s sleep and creates excessive traffic.
Basically, being a considerate neighbor means remembering the Golden Rule, and thinking about how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of those inconsiderate behaviors.
No one wants to live in a neighborhood where no one cares about each other or how their properties look. With a little effort and a lot of consideration, you can be everyone’s favorite neighbor – or at the very least, not the most disliked neighbor.