Tips on How to Be a Good Neighbor

neighbors outside having a backyard bbq

When you buy a home, you're also investing yourself into the community where you live. Great schools, parks, roads, and nearby businesses aren't just good for resale value—they're also important to your quality of life.

The same is true for good neighbors. Even if you end up buying your dream home, your experience at your residence can become much more uncomfortable when you aren't on good terms with your neighbors. While you can't control who lives next to your home, you can control whether or not you're a good neighbor to those around you—and this can help foster a more friendly, welcoming, and community-minded environment.

Take an active role in cultivating the community you want to live in: read on for tips on how to become a good neighbor.

What Does it Mean to Be a Good Neighbor?

While every homeowner might have their own ideas about what makes a good, or even great, neighbor, certain characteristics are widely valued by most homeowners and residents no matter where you live.

In general, a good neighbor is considered to be someone who is mindful that they share a living space and a community with others. This means they make an effort to:

  • Keep their property clean. One of the chief responsibilities of a good neighbor is to make sure their lifestyle and property aren't infringing on the living experiences of those around them. Overflowing trash, littered front yards, debris spilling onto other properties and into the streets, and other messes that can attract rodents are some of the biggest no-nos when keeping your property tidy and respecting those around you.
  • Keep noise from their property to a respectable level, especially at night. Some neighborhoods have rules about when noisy gatherings can be held. But whether you're playing music or hosting a party, be mindful of the noise you're creating and how it might affect your neighbors.
  • Check in with neighbors before hosting parties or large gatherings. Parties bring noise, traffic congestion, and other disruptions to your neighborhood. While it's your right to host parties and gatherings within the limits of local ordinances, it doesn't hurt to give neighbors a heads-up so they can plan their own lives with those events in mind—especially in case your neighbors want to make plans to be away at that time.
  • Maintain a watchful eye for safety concerns that might affect other neighbors. Notifying neighbors of suspicious activity, including unknown individuals on a neighbors' property or even a wild animal that has been spotted in the area, helps keep your neighbors safe. While neighbors don't necessarily want you spying on their house, it's often appreciated when you notify neighbors that you've noticed something out of the ordinary—even if it's as simple as a garage door left over.

Importance of Having Good Neighbors

A friendly relationship with neighbors will make your life easier in your neighborhood. Strong relationships with neighbors offer much more than nearby friends to hang out with: it also gives you a resource you can lean on when you need your plants watered, your dog sat, or your house monitored while you're away.

Good relationships with neighbors can also help you settle disputes related to noise, parties, lawn care, and a number of other issues that can drive a wedge between neighbors with poor relationships. If you have kids, strong relationships with neighbors can expand your network of support and monitoring of your children, improving their safety in your community. And, if you ever decide to sell, you can brag about the great neighbors in your area—which may persuade some buyers to increase their bidding.

New Neighbor Etiquette: Tips to Welcome Recent Arrivals

When new neighbors move into your area, you have a great opportunity to demonstrate how to be respectful of your neighbors, and to impress upon those new arrivals the value of maintaining good relationships with other members of the community.

Here are some tips to successfully welcome new neighbors:

  • Make an effort to introduce yourself. New neighbors are likely bogged down with the demands of home ownership, and they might be overwhelmed with the prospect of making their own introductions. By taking the initiative and introducing yourself, you can help them integrate while showing your interest in building a good relationship.
  • Gather and share neighborhood contact info. New neighbors will be eager to familiarize themselves with the neighborhood. If possible, collect the names, numbers, email addresses and other key info of nearby neighbors, making it easy for them to reach out as needed.
  • Host an informal welcome party. Give your new neighbors time to settle in their home, but offer to host a casual outdoor get-together with some of the neighbors. This can help everyone break the ice, and it will reinforce the strong neighborhood bonds you've worked to build.

By modeling the kind of neighborly behavior you seek from others, you can help foster a stronger sense of community, and even demonstrate how those living around you can be a good neighbor in return. Adopt a positive mindset, and you may be surprised how your own behavior can shape the behavior of others.