One thing you never truly know before you move into a new home is what the neighbors are like. Unless you’re lucky enough to move into a neighborhood with friends or family around you likely bought a home without meeting your neighbors. The general vibe of a neighborhood is hard to put your finger on until you’ve been there awhile. On the opposite side of that, the neighbors who already live there have no idea who are and are hoping you’re a decent, kind human who doesn’t have annoying habits. So while you’re adjusting to your new ‘hood keep in mind the neighbors are scoping you out too.
Beyond the basics of keeping up with the maintenance of your home moving into a neighborhood comes with a certain level of expectations. There are some general rules, like picking up after your dog, that everyone knows but if you’ve never lived close to neighbors you may not know some habits that will quickly make you public enemy #1 on your street. To keep you out of the neighborhood dog house here are a few things to avoid.
This probably seems harmless at first but barking dogs can quickly grate on people’s nerves, especially at night. Brining your barking dog inside after dark goes without question but even day-time barkers can be very intrusive if someone is trying to garden or relax outside in their own yard. Be mindful of how often and how loudly your dog may be and take action if the barking continues for more than a few minutes.
The same way that barking dogs can intrude on your neighbors peace and quiet so might your music. Be mindful of the time of day and the type of music you’re playing outside. Some music with heavy cursing or a lot of drum solos may be offensive to your neighbors.
I get it, sometimes the weeks just get away from you and the grass just doesn’t get cut. Every now and then the grass being a bit long is okay but repeatedly leaving your grass too high is a problem. It not only gives your home an under-cared-for look but long grass can also attract critters your neighbors would rather do without. If you are having a hard time keeping up with your grass ask around or check NextDoor or like sites for a high schooler looking to cut a few lawns. $20 buys you back your weekend and keeps you in your neighbors good graces!
If you are doing a home project or just got your fenced fixed no problem. Everyone understands a few days of debris. More than a week or two of debris – we’re talking old fences, fallen tree limbs, large boxes, mattresses, etc. – sitting around can start to make your neighbors question your shared interest in keeping the neighborhood looking its best. Try to remove any large items that your trash company won’t take within two weeks. If you can’t remove it yourself call companies like 1-800-JUNK or ask a neighbor with a truck if they’d mind helping you take a dumb run.
The sound of kids playing outside is always inviting in a neighborhood. If kids are out and about on their own it’s important to teach them to be respectful of other people’s property. Make sure they know to always bring their toys back home with them, don’t litter in other people’s yards, and be careful of the landscaping of other houses.
If you live in a walking neighborhood it’s important to be aware of other people’s comfort level with pets. Some people are perfectly fine with dogs while others are terrified. Aside from that you never know who is backing out of a driveway and may not see Fluffy taking a snooze on their pavement. Don’t assume all people like or are aware of animals around them. Keep an eye on your pet when you let them out or secure them so they stick around your home and your yard.
Some of us are early risers and are ready to get the day started when our coffee is done at 8 am but it’s important to note that some people have late shifts, night hours or heck, just want to enjoy a little extra sleep after a long week. Try to keep the outdoor chores involving motorized or loud equipment (leaf blowers, lawn mowers, power saws, etc.) to a minimum before 9 am.
In most neighborhoods the legal speed limit is somewhere between 10 and 20 mph. Going any quicker than that will get you a side death glare or even a not-so-nice call out from the mom across the street. Keep your speed low and be cautious of children on bikes, people walking their dogs, or your neighborhood jogger.
Being friendly is a general neighborhood expectation. As you drive by someone walking or pass your neighbors cutting their grass a small nod or wave is a simple sign that you are friendly and aware of your surroundings.
Some driveways are tight and only allow for one or two cars. If you’re going to be throwing a little soiree with your friends for the big game or a holiday do your neighbors a courtesy and let them know people will be parked on the street. This is also a great way to let them know if there are any issues (someone parks in front of a driveway or in the grass) and to come let you know so you can take care of it.
Jessica Deleo is a licensed agent in Richmond, Virginia with One South Realty Group. All information provided is of my own opinion and intended for educational purposes only. Read full disclaimer.