The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.



How to Get to Know Your New Neighbors

 September 18, 2023 |  Safety, Just for Fun |  first-time homeowner, new homeowner, moving, kids, pets

The experience of moving into a new home can be like riding a chaotic roller coaster - with all of the anxiety and eventual relief that’s involved with the ordeal. Often, families can be so consumed with making themselves comfortable in their new home that finding comfort in their new neighborhood is an afterthought.

Today, many can find it difficult to familiarize themselves with the people that share their block, whether because they might lean toward an introverted personality, or perhaps their hectic lifestyle limits opportunities to invest in new relationships. Regardless of the reasons for these hurdles, new homeowners should realize that their best opportunity to get to know their new environment is when they first move into their homes. If you’re interested in exploring some strategies for making a positive first impression with your new neighbors, you’re in the right place!

The Benefits of Knowing Your Neighbors
Based on some of the latest Pew research polls, a lack of familiarity with one’s neighbors is trending up. While only 4% of Americans ages 65 and up report not knowing any of their neighbors, this number grows to 7% for ages 50-64, 15% for ages 30-49, and a whopping 23% for Americans ages 18-29. Since all indications point towards this trend picking up rather than slowing down, it seems that people are either having trouble getting to know their neighbors, or people aren’t seeing the value in investing in that relationship.

The truth is that homeowners miss out on a great deal by staying distant from their neighbors. Since it can take a very long time to truly feel comfortable and at peace in a new home, building a relationship with the people next door and down the road is an excellent idea for anyone who wants to feel welcome and increase their familiarity with the area. Neighbors can share recommendations on nearby restaurants, interesting activities and businesses, or even just a nice route for a morning walk.

Getting to know your neighbors isn’t just a good idea for feeling at home in your space quicker, there are plenty of practical benefits to a tight-knit neighborhood. Homeownership isn’t without its potential for danger or emergency situations. Having the peace of mind that your neighbors are watching out for you and your family in the case of fires or break-ins is priceless, plus (according to this article from The Atlantic) communities that invest in social cohesion through increased trust and cooperation drive down gun violence and other violent crimes in their area.

For homeowners who are just moving in and looking for advice on how to introduce themselves to their new neighbors, here are some simple strategies to get started!

Tips for Getting to Know Your New Neighbors

  1. Spend Time Outside
    Priority One for getting to know the people in your neighborhood should always be to look for reasons to be outside. Neighbors will be naturally curious to catch a look at the new family down the road. Although moving in is plenty of work and many are just accustomed to spending a lot of time indoors, moving trucks are an announcement that something new is happening, and people take notice.
  2. Take the Initiative (and say, “Hello!”)
    While it can be much easier to wait for new neighbors to introduce themselves, sometimes it will be necessary to take the first step. For those who are a bit more introverted than others, building up the courage to break the ice while being sensitive about their personal space can be a difficult hurdle to pass. Some may not realize that taking the initiative doesn’t have to be overly elaborate. Simply finding time to knock on a neighbor’s door to make an introduction goes a long way - it can be as straightforward as that!
  3. Don’t Let An Opportunity Pass By
    Finally, new homeowners should be intentional about making new relationships with neighbors a priority by jumping on each invitation or interaction that pops up. Moving into a new neighborhood, or city, or state is difficult and time consuming, so it is understandable that many reserve all freetime for relaxation and recuperation. With that said, spontaneous invitations and conversations can be rare, depending on the community.

For the neighbors that are friendly enough to come by, be sure to smile and wave, and be open to enter into a conversation. For the other neighbors that might want to allow for some extra space and time to become acquainted with your new home, work in casual outdoor time. Relax on the porch, take time to improve the yard, and play with the kids or the family dog. Casual outdoor activities will show new neighbors that you aren’t too consumed or stressed out to be approached.

Additionally, find a regular routine to take a walk around the neighborhood, learn the area, and make note of everyone else’s habits. Opportunities to launch into a conversation will naturally come up over time, and adding a dog into the picture is an easy conversation starter! Dogs often seem to make friends much easier than people do, and pet owners would be smart to take advantage of that fact!

Note: As an extra way to bring neighbors to you, consider hosting a yard sale! Again, neighbors will be curious to see who moved in next door, and yard sales are a great way for people to easily get a picture of some family interests or hobbies. A yard sale is an open invitation for anyone to approach, so there shouldn’t be a sense of interrupting or invading your new space.

Bringing along a batch of cookies or some other gift can also be a nice gesture, but shouldn’t be regarded as an essential. If finding a time when the new neighbors aren’t preoccupied at home becomes too difficult a task, consider joining local activities or organizations in the area such as the HOA or a local book club. Whatever the activity or organization, the point is to find a moment to interact with your new community and find some common interests to get the ball rolling.

Ultimately, it doesn’t even matter if you’re particularly interested in the club. Make an appearance and use the occasion as an opportunity to make a dinner invitation or some other private outing. Although it might not always seem to be true, people are very willing to make new friends when the situation presents itself.

A mantra that might be helpful to keep in mind is this: Say, “yes.” Maybe a neighbor needs help shoveling their driveway, or maybe they need an extra hand carrying their ladder around back. As long as you aren’t avoiding your neighbors, opportunities will present themselves. A great way to get to know your neighbors is just to be a good neighbor yourself!

Struggling to find the right way to design your new home’s layout? Feng shui principles can be a great place to start! Did you skip your buyer's home inspection? Don’t worry - it’s not too late! Contact your local NPI inspector today.

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