By Melanie Robitaille, Sr. Staff Writer and Graphic Designer
Whether you’re an agent, or client looking to buy real estate, it’s as much about finding a community as it is about finding a property. A neighborhood flavors the surrounding area where you live, so unless you plan on staying inside indefinitely, it matters a great deal.
In today’s close-knit developments of condos, townhomes and subdivisions, having good neighbors sometimes means the difference between staying or going. With National Good Neighbor Day on September 28th, we thought we’d take a moment to examine what this means and get better acquainted with the idea.
The concept has been instilled in us through childhood TV iconography like Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, The Flintstones, Wilson from Home Improvement, even Ned Flanders from the Simpsons. Some of the top qualities that quantify a good neighbor, as cited by a 2019 poll for Neighborhoods.com, are maintaining a nice house and yard, being quiet, as well as being friendly to neighboring pets and family members. In condo living, it can also mean holding elevators, respecting security, and any HOA or board rules that may apply within your building.
I’m personally very lucky to live on a street where 90% of us know and trust our neighbors. We all come from different backgrounds, moved here from different places, but what I believe makes our neighborhood great is that we all make the effort to include one another, connect, and look out for each other. We pool funds for fireworks, invite each other over for block parties or backyard barbeques, help each other snow blow or shovel driveways in the winter, or offer a hand or tool to get a job done.
Flip the coin though, and it can seem daunting being the new kid on the block, so here are some tips, no matter your comfort level, to start that good neighbor relationship from day one:
Wait: Moving is a time-consuming dance of organization, so wait a few days after the moving truck leaves before engaging. Time will allow you to notice whether they have kids, pets, or other interests that might make for a good gift idea.
Introductions: Nothing says welcome like saying it yourself, even if from a distance. Have a quick conversation to introduce yourself and family, learn about them and theirs, share some helpful local info they might not already know, or offer your help if they ever need it.
Gifts: If you’re less talk; more action and prefer gift giving, anything from a gift card for a local restaurant or attraction, to a bottle of wine or baked treat says welcome. Even something that includes their household fur baby is thoughtful.
Having good neighbors when things aren’t going so great can mean the world, as many have witnessed lately. Some local REALTORS® have even stepped-up creating Facebook community groups allowing neighbors active on social the ability to connect at a distance as well as support local businesses in their areas.
But the truth is, what makes you a good neighbor goes deeper than that first “welcome to the neighborhood,” and is much the same as what makes you a good human being. It’s both a conscious choice and an exercise in common courtesy and compassion.