What about you? How well do you know your neighbours, and did you know that being a good neighbour and caring for your neighbourhood can increase your property value?
Orderly and well-maintained neighbourhoods with efficient municipalities are a significant drawcard for homebuyers today. Homebuyers’ tendency towards neighbourhoods that satisfy those criteria is one reason why estates have become so popular - and why properties in those orderly neighbourhoods and estates tend to achieve higher prices than properties elsewhere.
“Noisy and unruly neighbourhoods are off-putting to buyers and tenants. Properties are not likely to grow much in value and could struggle to attract good prices, buyers and better rental rates.” - Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff Property Group.
You can choose your friends, but you’re not always so lucky when it comes to neighbours.
Befriend them if you want to make the most of the situation. You never know when you’ll need a “cup of sugar”. Or a playdate for your children. Or even a drive to the hospital in an emergency. But that’s not the only reason. Being a good neighbour can affect the value of your property when you’re trying to sell it.
When potential buyers inspect a property, it’s common for them to inquire about the state of the neighbourhood. They will likely ask about the neighbours, the crime, the noise, etc. If you want to sell your property, your answer must be positive. Who wants to tell a potential buyer that your neighbourhood is not a great place to live?
Being a good neighbour doesn’t mean you need to become best friends with everyone on your street. It’s essentially putting in the effort to make your neighbourhood a better place. As Benjamin Whichcote once said: “We are made for one another, and each is to be a supply to his neighbour.”
Common neighbourhood courtesy is to inform your neighbours of anything you’re doing that could impact them. For example, if you’re hosting a party, let your neighbours know if they should expect noise and strangers pulling up to your house.
In addition, ensure that you aren’t asking your neighbours for too much. For example, do you need to blast music through the neighbourhood at 10 pm? Can your guests park somewhere else instead of blocking the street?
Your property is yours, and your neighbour’s property is theirs. No matter how well you get on with your neighbours, even friends want their privacy. Play your part and keep boundaries intact.
Maintain boundaries such as walls and fences and overhanging plants; you don’t want to be in an awkward situation where your neighbour comes to your doorstep to ask if you can please respect their space.
Being a good neighbour isn’t just about physical boundaries. It’s also crucial to keep out of your neighbours’ personal lives unless they indicate otherwise.
Not everyone will love your dog as you do. Some neighbours might not mind if your dog wanders across their garden or your cat slips in through their lounge window, but some neighbours will care, and it’s always best to assume the latter.
Part of being a good neighbour is keeping your pets on your property. Perhaps invest in a fence, and make sure your pets have sufficient shelter and food, so they don’t look for it elsewhere.
Estates and complexes have rules for a reason: to keep things orderly and to keep the peace between neighbours. Respect these rules if you want to be a good neighbour, maintain a good reputation, and avoid a fine.
A tip for those who live in a freestanding property: ensure your pavement and garden are tidy, so your property doesn’t become an eyesore in the neighbourhood. An unruly garden could dissuade potential buyers from inspecting the house itself.
However, local neighbourhood rules aren’t the only rules you need to follow. Do you run a business from your home? Make sure your business is compliant with zoning laws and local bylaws.
A good neighbour keeps their neighbourhood tidy - for their sake as much as for everyone else’s. Most areas have arrangements to only put bins out on the morning of collection. Respect this arrangement and ensure your rubbish is ready for collection on those mornings.
Getting involved in your community is part of being a good neighbour. The sooner you make an effort to engage with your community, the sooner your house will feel like a home. It also shows your neighbours that you care about where you live and with whom you share your neighbourhood.
Community clean-ups are a great way to show you care about your community. Picking up litter is also much more fun in company, so why not make new friends and do good for the environment simultaneously?
If issues in your community need attention (i.e. crime rate, disorderly conduct), don’t be afraid to liaise with your local councillor. This also shows your willingness to speak up about problems affecting your community, and you could also earn your neighbours’ respect.
Take a moment to consider the implications of renovating your property. Your desire for a new bathroom is not a good enough reason to break regulations and annoy your neighbours. To avoid disputes, let your neighbours know if they can expect construction vehicles, workers, and noise. And keep that noise within normal hours and to a minimum over the weekend.
To avoid breaking any laws, get planning permission and ensure that any building complies with relevant laws and regulati
A good neighbour should also support or volunteer to protect their neighbourhood. Most neighbourhoods have a Neighbourhood Watch comprised of volunteers.
Why not join your local Neighbourhood Watch? Or perhaps, drive a monetary collection to pay these volunteers instead. It’s easy to enjoy security privileges, but these volunteers sacrifice their time and energy to keep you safe. It’s worthwhile to show them your appreciation.
Supporting your Neighbourhood Watch will also pay off when you want to sell your property. After all, homebuyers want a safe neighbourhood.
Another way to get involved in your community is to support a local charity. This can be an alternative to handouts. You can get involved by donating money, food, clothing, or even your time to assist with handouts and activities.
Your neighbourhood doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and your voice can be an instrument of change. Stay informed of what is happening in your country, city and neighbourhood. Participate in town forums, and don’t hesitate to offer your opinion and insight when discussing matters.
Selling your property can be a complicated process. Alas, being a good neighbour isn’t going to sell your home for you, and you’ll need to pay attention to the interior and exterior of your property if you want an excellent price for it. For tips, read Seeff’s blog on how to increase your property value.