How to Be a Good Neighbor After Moving In
Moving into a new neighborhood can feel intimidating, but getting to know your neighbors is a great way to build your village after moving. If you can be a good neighbor, it fosters a sense of community and creates a friendly and supportive environment where everyone feels welcome and respected.
We’ve been fortunate enough that each time we’ve moved, our neighbors have been great. We lived in apartments before buying our first house; some neighbors were pleasant, and some were absent. Now that we live in a house, I’ve become much more aware of the importance of having a good relationship with neighbors.
Again, we have been fortunate to live next to some great people. At first, I was a bit intimidated and nervous about meeting our neighbors. Still, we’ve developed great connections with those living next to us over the years. I’ve put together a few tips for how to be a good neighbor after moving into your new home:
Here are some tips for being a good neighbor:
Take the initiative to introduce yourself to your neighbors when you first move in. I regret not doing this soon enough. We met one set of neighbors with whom we’ve had a great relationship, but I was too shy to do this with the others until much later after we moved. I wish I would have met them sooner because they are lovely. Introducing yourself early on can help establish a friendly and welcoming atmosphere immediately.
Be respectful of your neighbors’ boundaries and privacy. Avoid being too noisy, invading their personal space, or disrupting their daily routines. When our kids are particularly loud, I shut the windows. No one wants to deal with a tantrum, let alone a neighbor, so I try to shield them from the chaos when possible. We share a driveway with one of our neighbors, so I always try to keep it clear for them to come and go without issues.
Be mindful of shared spaces
If you live in a shared space such as an apartment complex or condominium, be mindful of the common areas such as the parking lot, laundry room, or fitness center. Keep these areas clean and tidy, and respect any rules or regulations.
When I lived in one of my San Francisco apartments, the laundry room in one of my apartments was such a disaster. One neighbor, in particular, would leave their laundry in the dryer, and other neighbors would put their laundry on the table. But, the person would never come to pick up their laundry, so it was strewn across the laundry room. It blew my mind that they didn’t care how dirty their freshly cleaned laundry got or how inconsiderate they were to other tenants.
Keep noise levels down
Avoid excessive noise, especially during early morning or late night hours. If you’re having a party or event, give your neighbors a heads-up in advance and keep the noise to a minimum. Our neighbor had a party, but let us know ahead of time. While it was loud, late into the evening, I knew this was a rare occasion, and it didn’t bother me. I appreciated her letting us know beforehand. With young kids, it is bound to get loud in our house. I keep the windows closed if the noise gets out of hand.
Be considerate with parking
If street parking is limited in your neighborhood, be mindful of where you park your car. Don’t block your neighbors’ driveways or park in spaces designated for their guests. If you parallel park on the street, be mindful of using only enough room for your car. Nothing is worse than a car that takes up two spaces, leaving too little space in the front or the back for another to park.
We have an extra parking spot in our shared driveway but have given our neighbors priority with this spot since it is closer to their home. Occasionally, we need to use that spot but only with their permission.
Offer to help
If you see your neighbors struggling with something, offer to help. Whether carrying groceries, mowing the lawn, or watching their pets, a small gesture can go a long way. One of our neighbor’s kids is applying to graduate school and looking to go into healthcare. We chatted with him about options based on what we’ve seen in recent healthcare system trends.
Another neighbor of ours used to own a restaurant before retiring, and she regularly makes food for us, which is helpful when life with kids feels overwhelming. When our neighbors head out of town, we offer to water their gardens for them, and they’ve done the same for us.
Maintain your property
Keep your yard tidy and well-maintained. Unkept landscaping can be a real eye-sore, as well as excessive cars, boxes, and other items that may clutter the outside of your home. A neat and presentable property not only adds to the appeal of the neighborhood but also shows that you take pride in your home.
We’ve been looking to renovate our front yard because some plants have not survived the hot summer. We took out some unhealthy trees and let our neighbors know we plan to put in new ones soon. Keeping them updated on our plans shows that while we have yet to renovate, it is coming soon.
Observe local rules and regulations
Familiarize yourself with and abide by community guidelines or homeowner association rules. Following local laws demonstrates your commitment to being a responsible and considerate neighbor. Do you need to pull your trash cans in by a specific time? What day does street cleaning happen? Are there noise, grills, fire pits, and home decor ordinances? Make sure to be aware of these to avoid conflict.
Participate in community events
Engage in local events and gatherings whenever possible. Participating in community activities enriches your experience and demonstrates your commitment to being an active member of the neighborhood. Does your area have a block party? Ask how you can help out. Support the local schools through their fundraising events. I always love going to a local neighborhood or town festival.
Be mindful of pets
If you have pets, be considerate of your neighbors’ comfort. Always clean up after your furry friends during walks and ensure they are not causing excessive noise or disturbances. It’s frustrating when grass areas die because pets regularly relieve themselves on our lawn. And since our boys play in our front yard, I hate when someone leaves behind dog poop. Yuck!
Exchange contact information
Consider exchanging contact information with your neighbors. This way, you can quickly get in touch in emergencies or when needed. We’ve been able to help a neighbor out with some flooding issues because we noticed them before he did. I also love asking neighbors for recommendations for service people we may need to hire. It’s always nice to use a company with a good neighborhood reputation.
Communicate openly and respectfully
If you have a conflict or disagreement with your neighbors, try to communicate openly and respectfully. Avoid getting defensive or confrontational, and try to find a solution that works for everyone. This one is probably the hardest for me because I hate confrontation. But if I put off communication, the issues boil up to more significant problems later. I always recommend communicating in person when an issue comes up.
Bring a little something
Small gestures like homemade cookies or a welcoming gift to your new neighbors can help establish a friendly rapport. It can make the initial introduction easier and less awkward. I also like to drop things off throughout the year. For May Day, we put flowers on our neighbor’s doorstep because it’s something my dad always had us do when I was a kid. We also like to drop off boo baskets to the neighborhood kids.
Following these simple guidelines can create a welcoming and harmonious environment within your new neighborhood. Being a good neighbor enhances your living experience. It contributes to the sense of community, making a neighborhood a genuinely wonderful place to call home.