As you complete your new home purchase, you’ll quickly find that it makes sense to invest time and energy into the neighborhood where you’ll spend years of your life.
As a new homeowner, you’ll appreciate the benefits that come with a newly built home, but also the benefits that come with new neighbors and a new community. But, where do you start? From crawfish boils and book clubs to youth sports and homeowners association meetings, getting involved in your neighborhood is a great way to get the most out of owning a home. Here’s how:
Take That First Step
You’ve just moved into your new home — now what? It’s time to meet your neighbors! Perhaps no one has showed up at your doorstep with a pie and a “Welcome!” card in hand. Not a problem — be proactive and host a meet-and-greet in your home.
Frances Dawson, a real estate agent in North Carolina, suggests hosting a Saturday morning coffee as soon as you move in. “Send an invite card that says something like, ‘We Haven’t Unpacked Yet, But Want to Meet Our New Neighbors!’” she says. “And be sure to include a photo in your invitation, along with your contact information so they can RSVP.”
Inviting people into your new space will get the ball rolling and show them that you want your neighbors to be a part of your life and are approachable.
If your neighborhood has a homeowners association, get involved with it. You’ll quickly become familiar not only with the neighborhood, but with neighbors as well.
Find Common Ground in Your Routines
A meet-and-greet is a start, but you can also get to know your neighbors as you go about your daily routine. It goes without saying that pets are truly talented at breaking the ice, so Dawson also suggests using your pets to meet strangers. “A surefire way to meet folks is to walk your dog and speak to people you meet along the way.”
In addition, Elizabeth Dodson of home software company HomeZada says, “getting your family known to neighbor’s pets and vice versa can help should a pet get loose. If the pet is aware of other families, that will help secure it to safety, which is a great way to build a bond with your neighbor.”
Check Out Your Neighborhood-Wide Events
Take advantage of neighborhood events. Many neighborhoods hold celebrations on holidays where families can eat and enjoy the outdoors together. “Community events in a local park can lead to great conversations,” Dodson says. “It’s amazing how food can get us all relaxed and talking to each other.
“Our community throws these type of events very informally and also provides contact information to all community members should anything suspicious occur, so we can connect with each other,” she says.
If you’re an introvert and big community gatherings seem intimidating, push through and make a few connections. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did since you’ll feel more comfortable with neighbors.
Some “Neighborly” Advice
With all relationships, a level of respect is required and being a good neighbor is no different. Understand your neighbors’ tolerance level when it comes to things such as noise and parking.
Do you have a drum set or play loud music in your garage? It might be a good idea to cut it off in the evening so your neighbors can sleep. Is it okay to park in front of your neighbor’s house on occasion if you don’t have room in your driveway? Most likely, but check with them first. Another big one: clean up after your pets. There’s no quicker way to get a neighbor frustrated than for them to find unwanted “fertilizer” in their yard.
These common courtesies will ensure a respectful relationship between you and your neighbors.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start enjoying the homeowning experience that begins outside of your home with your soon-to-be friends.