If you want to be happy in your own home, you need more than a big house, nice furniture, and a good location. You also need friendly neighbors. Unfortunately, many homeowners accidentally get on the bad side of their neighbors. Don’t let this be you.
Stop Turning Your Neighbors Against You
You don’t have to be best friends with your neighbors, but it sure is nice to be cordial. And while you can’t make everyone happy, you can significantly reduce your chances of frustrating the other homeowners on your street by avoiding the following points of friction:
There’s nothing worse than having a neighbor who throws loud parties and events at their home – particularly late into the evening and early morning. Not only does it disrupt the peacefulness of the neighborhood, but it can make it difficult to fall asleep. For families with young children, excessive noise can wake sleeping babies and create all kinds of unwanted commotion.
If you like to throw parties, try to keep them as low-key as possible. This means you shouldn’t blast music and/or allow people to be outside after normal bedtime hours. You should also put definitive end times on your parties and keep the guest list to a reasonable limit. It’s also smart to talk to neighbors ahead of time to let them know that you’ll be hosting a party. This simple courtesy should make them more understanding.
Who doesn’t love dogs? Well…your neighbor might not. As much as you love having a furry little friend roam your backyard, it could be a huge point of contention for everyone else around you – particularly if your dog barks at all hours of the day.
Barking dogs are highly problematic. They’ve been known to cause huge disputes that eventually require law enforcement to step in. Even if you’ve managed to drown out the noise of your dog’s bark, that doesn’t mean your neighbors have.
The best thing you can do is professionally train your dog not to bark. If you don’t want to do this, you should at least keep the dog indoors for most of the day (and certainly at night). Bark collars – the kind that vibrate, not shock – can also be effective.
Floodlights are fantastic for lighting up your yard at night. Not only do they serve the functional purpose of giving you increased visibility, but they also act as a safety/security deterrent against burglars, trespassers, and other criminals. But have you ever considered whether your floodlights shine onto your neighbors’ properties?
Next time you turn your floodlights on, be sure to investigate where the light falls. Is it possible that your light is sending a direct beam into one of your neighbors’ bedrooms? Does the light cast massive shadows on their lawn? These may be small problems to some, but they can be major pain points for others. Adjust your lights accordingly.
Some privacy is good. Excessive privacy makes neighbors feel as if (a) you’re hiding something, or (b) you don’t like them. Just ask homeowner Mike LaFollette.
“What continues to drive us crazy is the 6-foot concrete wall our neighbor erected years ago,” LaFollette explains. “We wanted a wood fence, and would have gone 50/50 to pay for it, but no. Since it had to be concrete or nothing, we didn’t contribute a dime. The wall casts a shadow on part of our yard which has cut off sunlight and killed flower beds.”
Maintain some privacy, but don’t become a recluse who is shut off from the rest of the neighborhood. It can give an otherwise normal street a sketchy vibe.
Having kids in the neighborhood is great. It gives the area a family-friendly feel and, in most cases, actually brings real estate values up. But if you’re going to let your kids play in the neighborhood, don’t give them free reign to do whatever they want.
Wayward kids who walk in other people’s yards, participate in mischievous behavior, and wreak havoc on neighbors will quickly land you on everyone’s bad side. To prevent this, give your children rules and boundaries. If they break these rules, they shouldn’t be allowed the same freedoms as the other kids in the neighborhood.
You can tell a lot about a neighborhood by how well the lawns are manicured. If everyone on the street takes good care of their landscaping, then there’s an expectation that you will, too. Tall grass, weeds, and leaves will make people question whether you have the same pride of ownership that they do.
You don’t have to hire a professional landscaping crew to keep your property looking decent. All you need is some consistency in mowing, pulling weeds, raking leaves, and doing other basic maintenance tasks. (And in order to avoid another common pet peeve, don’t mow your lawn early in the morning or late at night! Lawn tools should only be operated during daylight hours.)
Junk in the Yard
In addition to poor landscaping, neighbors don’t like it when there’s junk in someone’s yard. From cars parked on grass to toys and sporting equipment strewn across the driveway, leaving stuff outside makes the neighborhood look bad.
If you have a garage, this is the most logical place to store your stuff. If you don’t have a garage, try storing stuff in a garden shed, underneath a deck, or behind your house (where it’s less visible).
Year-Round Holiday Decor
Most people are totally fine with holiday decor around Halloween, Christmas, or even Independence Day. What people don’t like is when neighbors leave up decorations for weeks or months after the holiday has passed.
As a rule of thumb, you should take all holiday decor down within one week after the event has passed. Anything longer than this is considered tacky.
Buy and Sell With Green Residential
At Green Residential, we do more than just manage rental properties for our clients. We’re also happy to assist Houston-area homeowners with all of their buying and selling needs. So if you’re getting ready to make a move, we’d love to assist you in the process. Contact us today to learn more!