Happy New Year! It’s always an exciting time as we begin a new year. Everything feels like a fresh start. Working in real estate affords us the opportunity to visit many types of homes and neighborhoods. Whether you live in a standalone home or a high-rise condominium for most of us coexisting with other people is inevitable. As we begin a new year, we thought it might be a good time to remind ourselves of some tips for being a good neighbor.
- Follow the written rules. Whether you rent or own, there are rules about quiet hours, parking spaces, trash pickup, usage of recreation facilities and other issues that you need to be aware of and follow. If you rent or live in a neighborhood with a Homeowners Association, these items will be detailed in your lease or Neighborhood By-laws and Covenants. Be sure you have a copy of the rules and take the time to read them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there is anything you don’t understand.
- Follow the unwritten rules. These usually involve using common sense (e.g., not blocking your neighbor’s driveway, trespassing in his yard) or can be learned by gradually getting to know your neighbors and hearing their pet peeves. Small acts of consideration will go a long way in making you thought of as a good neighbor.
- Be very attentive to noise issues. Try to restrict necessary but noisy activities (vacuuming, lawn mowing, leaf blowing, moving heavy furniture, etc.) to roughly between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Be aware that some rental agreements, condo associations and local communities have even more specific laws for the appropriate times for lawn care-especially on weekends.
- Mind your children. Be considerate of your neighbors by teaching your children to respect their privacy and property. Be sure they understand the rules of their community and why they are in place (e.g., we can’t use the playground after dark to keep everyone safe)
- Control your pets. Follow the rules of your community regarding your pets. Keep your dog leashed if a leash law exists. Pick up any mess made by your pet. Be sure that your pets do not disturb your neighbors when you are at work or at other times that you are away from home.
- Be considerate about parties. Always tell your neighbors ahead of time when you plan to have a party. On the day of the party, be sure to continue to follow the rules regarding noise, parking and other issues that may annoy your neighbors.
- Be friendly to your neighbors. This can mean a quick “hello” as you pass one another in the hall or on the sidewalk, or a more formal introduction if the time seems right. Starting off on the right foot will help you to address future problems more easily and in a more comfortable manner. And who knows, you might just make a new friend!