How to Be a Good Neighbor: 5 Tips

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Neighbors can make or break your experience of homeownership. Here are a few tips for how to be a good neighbor and influence others.

Be Kind, Be Polite, Introduce Yourself

Being kind and polite is the easiest way to establish yourself as a good neighbor. Whether you’re moving in or are watching new neighbors move in, being kind and polite is entirely within your control.

This means briefly introducing yourself when the time is right. Here are a few times you might consider introducing yourself:

  • A couple of days after the move in by ringing your neighbor’s doorbell
  • While your neighbor is doing a light chore, like watering the lawn or sweeping their porch
  • During a walk

Consider this experience a homeowner had with a good neighbor when he moved in.

A couple days after our closing but before we moved in, I went to the house to plan move-in day. There was some debris on the driveway, so I started sweeping it.

My next door neighbor came over to introduce himself. When he found out I was the new owner, he offered to let me use his leaf blower to clear off the driveway. It made me feel welcome.

Offer to Help When You Can

Nothing makes a neighborhood good like helping hands. This is especially true if you notice new neighbors moving in. Here are a few ways to be helpful, whether you’re moving into the neighborhood or have lived there for years.

How to offer help as an ESTABLISHED neighbor

You don’t necessarily need to offer to help your neighbors move in—that might be a bit too up front. However, there are some small ways you can help, such as the following:

  • Lending tools to make work around the house easier
  • Informing new neighbors of what a normal day in the neighborhood looks like
  • Telling new neighbors about restaurants and entertainment spots you like

These small gestures can be both meaningful and helpful to new neighbors. It’s a good way to establish rapport and build trust as well.

How to offer help as a NEW neighbor

While established neighbors may not expect help from you right away, there are some things you can do from the start to help.

  • Don’t outright reject all help. Your neighbors likely want to help you so they can get to know you, in addition to providing assistance. Rejecting all help can send the wrong message.
  • When borrowing tools, always return them. If you think you’ll need them for longer than expected, ask for permission.
  • Be willing to trust. Unless there’s good reason to think otherwise, you should trust that your neighbors have your best interests in mind. It’s key to building relationships and being a good neighbor.

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Keep the Noise Down

One of the biggest causes of neighbor disputes is noise. Often, it’s consistent and unexpected noise that causes problems.

Most people understand basic noise etiquette, such as:

  • Not blasting music late into the night
  • Mowing the lawn at a reasonable hour (i.e., after the sun comes up)

And many times, simple communication can nip noise complaints in the bud. Here are some noise-related issues to let your neighbors know about on your way to being a good neighbor:

  • If you’re having a party
    • Invite your neighbors if it’s appropriate!
    • If it’s more personal, a kind heads up can help your neighbors know what to expect.
  • When planning bigger projects
    • Things like concrete work, tree cutting, roof repairs, and other projects that typically include loud and consistent banging or scraping.

You don’t need permission from your neighbors to live your life. But helping your neighbors anticipate noise can show that you’re thinking about them and are trying to do the right thing.

Be Courteous During Confrontations

Even the best neighbors occasionally have conflicts. It’s natural. The key to addressing neighborly conflicts is in how you handle confrontation.

The best way to handle conflicts is directly, courteously, and calmly.

Lots of times, your neighbor won’t even know that they’re doing something bothersome. Many people assume that if they’re doing something wrong, someone will tell them! So, approaching them directly, courteously, and calmly can raise their awareness without making them feel foolish or threatened.

Consider another example from a homeowner about the proper way for a good neighbor to confront issues.

In the spring, my neighbor approached me about one of my pine trees. It was shedding needles near his shed, which made a mess that was hard to clean up.

He asked if I’d be willing to trim the tree, and offered to split the cost to do it.

We talked it out, and we agreed to cut the tree down and split the cost to do it. Now, he doesn’t have pine needles on his property, and I have a new space for gardening. Win-win!

On the other side of the coin, it’s important to avoid passive-aggressive communication if you want to be a good neighbor.

Passive-aggressive communications to avoid

  1. Notes on doors and windshields. There’s no real good reason to ever do this. It shows you aren’t willing to treat neighbors like adults. Additionally, doing so could cause neighbors to dig in and escalate the conflict.
  2. Vague complaints on social media. This is the modern version of leaving a note on a door or windshield. It’s immature, patronizing, and can hurt your relationships.
  3. Shoveling snow/debris onto a neighbor’s property. While it might make you feel good in the moment, making life harder for your neighbors is a bad play in the long run. Eventually, you’ll get caught, and a minor annoyance could flare into a full-fledged fight.
  4. Calling the police for minor issues. Unless someone is outright breaking the law or has threatened you in the past, calling the police because your neighbor is doing something you don’t like is a surefire way to become that homeowner.

Do the Right Thing, Because It’s the Right Thing to Do

There are some things you can control to be a good neighbor, and others you can’t. Regardless of whether your neighbors are good or bad, doing the right thing is the surest way to be a good neighbor.

From helping older neighbors shovel to showing younger neighbors the basics of homeownership, doing the right thing pays off in the long run.

It’s much easier to shout about issues, leave snide and anonymous notes, or ignore your neighbors. But these things often make homeownership more of a nightmare than a dream.

Doing the right thing, on the other hand, often leads to better relationships with neighbors, which is an important part of homeownership.

A Black man with short, cropped hair giving a piggyback ride to a Black woman with braces and long wavy hair. They're both in blue jeans and white t-shirts, smiling, and giving a peace sign, the man with his left hand and the woman with her right hand.

Bonus: Buy Them a Home Service Plan

OK, we’ll level with you—buying a Home Service Plan for your neighbor is probably a bit over the top. We just figured we’d have some fun with our pitch.

Because a Home Service Plan from 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10) can truly be a helpful thing to have. It helps homeowners protect themselves against routine household breakdowns, which can be extremely expensive.

Sometimes, sharing information is a great way to be a good neighbor. So let your neighbors know about 2-10. And if you purchase a Home Service Plan from 2-10 and refer a friend, you can both get rewarded for it!

Protect more,
pay less with 2-10

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Protect more,
pay less with 2-10

Low-cost home service plans.

Learn More