How to be a great neighbor or at least a good neighbor

11 June 2021
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When you live in the city, there is a good chance you don’t interact much with your neighbors. If you lived in an apartment, pretty much the best anyone can ask for is that your neighbors don’t have loud parties lasting well into the night.

But during the COVID migration to the suburbs, people are learning that there’s a lot more to being a good neighbor than reining in the noise from your late night parties.

If you bought your new home, there’s a good chance your neighbors will be with you for a long time. Now might be the time to study up on how to be a good neighbor, or better yet, a great neighbor.

Ask your neighbors for advice

Rather than search Google or Yelp for a services you might need, ask your neighbors. Your next-door neighbor might have the perfect landscaping person or handy person. The family down the block might know of a great babysitter and pediatrician. The neighbor with the three dogs has a reliable and popular dog walker and local veterinarian. Your neighbor with beautiful hair can refer you to her hairstylist.

There’s nothing better to get to know your neighbor than complimenting them as you ask for referrals.

Become a good neighbor by building a good fence

Good fences make for good neighborsThere’s an old idiom that says good fences makes for good neighbors, or something like that. We agree, but not because we dislike our neighbors.

A fence keeps dogs from entering a good neighbor’s yard. It keeps weeds local on one side. It also eliminates any doubt as to who is responsible for the slice of land abutting the fence. In other words, good fences stop problems with neighbors before they get a chance to start.

Become a good neighbor by learning local ordinances and abiding by them

Be respectful by honoring your neighborhood homeowner’s associationPerhaps your new community has a homeowner’s association, or perhaps not. If you do have a homeowner’s association, it’s in your best interest as a good neighbor to learn the ordinances.

Keeping your lawn too overgrown or your house the wrong color might not seem like a big deal, but it can cost you money and devalue your new neighbors’ homes; the opposite of a good neighbor.

If you don’t have a homeowner’s association, your community will still have ordinances. Most cities forbid loud noise after a certain hour. They may also have parking restrictions and perhaps even laws forbidding certain plants.

Become a good neighbor by keeping your home up

Realtors often tell people that they should find the worst house in the best neighborhood. We can almost guarantee that whoever owned that worst house didn’t make too many friends out of the neighbors.

Once you move into your new home, the upkeep is all yours and it’s the perfect time to show your new neighbors that unlike the previous owner, you are a good neighbor.

If you want to be a good neighbor, maintain your yard, paint your home if needed, keep your windows clean, etc. Bring on the curb appeal the previous owner didn’t bother with…you’ll see your equity increase too.

What do you want to bet that you’ll make new friends as your new neighbors come out to check out what you’re doing.

Be a good neighbor by being a good pet owner

A good neighbor is a good pet owner. Let your dog stay inside most of the day and all night, so they won’t bark 24/7 and annoy the entire neighborhood with the noise.

Clean up after your dog or cat, especially if they defecate in a neighbor’s yard. Let your friendly dog meet your neighbors. A hand sniff can go a long way toward establishing a harmonious community and neighborhood.

Be a good neighbor by hosting a neighborhood party

In days past, it was common for good neighbors to welcome new arrivals to the neighborhood with a gift of food. While you might have neighbors like that in your community, there’s a good chance that you might have to make the effort to meet your new neighbors.

Host a good neighbor party. It doesn’t need to be expensive.
Go analog for just one day or night. Pass some flyers on your community or neighborhood. Maybe do a pot luck barbecue or cocktail hour for a neighborhood housewarming party.

Invite your neighbors for coffee

Maybe a party isn’t your thing. Instead, invite your neighbors, one by one, to a neighborhood coffee shop for some friendly gossip.

Be a good neighbor by keeping it down during parties

You might not invite your neighbors to all your parties and even if you do, be respectful. No loud noise after 10:00. In fact, it’s best that any outdoor party go inside before then.


Be a respectful good neighbor by keeping the noise down
Even then, keep the noise down. Don’t let your guests block driveways or take spaces from your new neighbors. You also don’t want drunk party guests annoying your neighbors and your community.

Be a good neighbor by obeying trash ordinances

Some communities have their own trash collection services and others have third party community trash collection. Regardless, there are laws and limits on what you can do. Be respectful and take your trash out to the curb the night before pickup. Bring it in as soon after pickup as possible.

Be respectful of your neighbors on bulk pickup days

If you have a bulk pickup, try not to clutter the sidewalks so your neighbors won’t trip. Take the bulk items out to the trash area as close to the pickup day as possible.

Your neighborhood or community might require that your trash cans are behind your fence on non-trash days. When you collect them, take them to your back yard if possible.