7 Ways to Be a Better Neighbor
We all want to live in a supportive community with respectful neighbors. In fact, close-knit communities are often safer and happier places to live. When everyone makes an effort to be a good neighbor, your time in your homeowners’ association (HOA) will be much more enjoyable. In this article, we share the top qualities of a good neighbor and seven ways you can build positive and lasting relationships with neighbors.
Qualities of a Good Neighbor
Neighbors play a key role in your HOA and quality of life. They can be the difference between whether you’re excited to pull into your driveway at the end of a long day or immediately shut the garage door behind you. With high stakes, it’s important to know what being a good neighbor looks like so you can identify good neighbors—and be one yourself. Here are the top traits of a good neighbor:
- Friendly: They’re welcoming to newcomers and establish and maintain relationships.
- Helpful: Whether it’s to borrow a cup of sugar or get your mail when you’re on vacation, they’re always there to lend a hand.
- Respectful: They’re considerate of neighbors and their properties. They understand boundaries and obey rules.
- Active: They know what’s happening, attend events, and assist with decision-making.
- Communicative: They avoid neighborhood gossip and address issues quickly and maturely.
7 Ways to Be a Good Neighbor
Many people live in a neighborhood with an HOA because of the inherent sense of community. To foster this camaraderie, you should follow basic neighborhood etiquette. Here are seven things you can do to be a good neighbor right now.
1. Maintain curb appeal.
HOAs are typically a top pick due to their well-kept properties and cohesive appearance. To preserve property values and maintain curb appeal, everyone must do their part. While every HOA has different rules and regulations, landscaping and home exterior best practices include:
- Mowing grass regularly
- Using fresh paint
- Installing exterior lighting
- Keeping the lawn tidy
- Cleaning gutters
- Trimming bushes, shrubs, and trees
2. Park in the right place.
Parking is one of the most common issues and sources of conflict in HOAs. Within your governing documents, you may find rules about:
- Number of vehicles permitted
- Designated parking spots
- Parking duration
Ensure you know and follow your community’s parking guidelines to prevent headaches and keep the peace. Board members should keep enforcement consistent, post parking signs, and communicate rules and changes to encourage compliance and a cooperative atmosphere.
3. Handle conflict correctly.
Conflict may be inevitable, but how you manage it is completely within your control. When conflict resolution is handled well, you’ll experience improved relationships and harmony in the community. For effective conflict resolution, you should:
- Pick your battles. Not everything that bothers you is worth addressing. Think about the impact of the infraction and align your response and course of action accordingly.
- Talk face-to-face. If you decide to address an issue, talk face-to-face. Don’t gossip or write a note that could be misinterpreted. Actively listen and never interrupt.
- Remain calm. Be respectful and treat your neighbors how you’d like to be treated. Maintain an optimistic attitude and be professional.
- Seek additional help if needed. If problems aren’t resolved, speak with your board of directors or community manager. They may be able to offer advice or assist with next steps.
4. Read all HOA communications.
Strong communication makes strong communities. Board members and community managers should regularly communicate with residents—and residents should read these messages. Whether it’s through email, social media, a community website, or broadcasted announcements, understand your established communication channels and stay up to date. Consider using a community management platform, like TownSq, with a robust communications suite that allows users to seamlessly send mass or individual emails, post announcements, and send push notifications. The more you know, the better off the community will be.
5. Stay connected with neighbors.
Just like board members and community managers should communicate with residents, residents should also communicate with each other. When people know and care about one another, it promotes a positive spirit and boosts morale. Chat in person with neighbors at the mailbox, board meetings, or events—or use a digital platform to connect virtually. TownSq’s forum feature makes it easy to engage with neighbors and share thoughts and ideas.
6. Attend community events.
HOA community events create a feeling of community, so you should try to attend as many as possible. You’ll have an opportunity to mingle with neighbors, strengthen bonds in a fun setting, and enjoy being surrounded by a thriving community. Popular events that HOAs host include:
- Block parties
- Garage sales
- Holiday gatherings
- Cookie exchanges
Plus, with TownSq’s events feature you can get the word out about events. Board members can communicate the events they’re planning, and residents can post event suggestions and access a full event calendar.
7. Be a mindful pet owner.
Pets are beloved community members, but ignoring proper pet protocols can be stressful and disruptive. They need to be good neighbors, too. To avoid strained neighbor relationships and alleviate potential issues, you should:
- Follow general ownership rules (pet amount, height, weight, species, etc.)
- Try to reduce barking
- Clean up pet waste
- Keep pets on a leash when walking
- Stay up to date on pet medications and care
Connect Your Community with TownSq
When everyone tries to be a good neighbor, your community will become a better place to live. With TownSq, the leading end-to-end platform for management companies, board members, and homeowners, connecting and collaborating is easier than ever. Discover how TownSq brings people together and enhances the community living experience. Request a demo today!