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How to Be a Good Neighbor

Some practical tips on how to be a good neighbor.

Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. … And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets.”

Matthew 22: 35-40

When you finally buy the home of your dreams and are moving in, you may begin to realize that living in a house is nothing like living in an apartment.  There’s a yard to maintain, every break and crack is yours to fix, and your neighbors are suddenly so much more important.  If you’re new to the neighborhood and want to put your best foot first: here’s how to be a fantastic neighbor without having to go too far out of your way.

Keep Noise Down

Don’t throw a raging party every weekend.  Although many may think of having a house as a ticket that lets them get away with any level of noise: your neighbors will hear these sounds and have to deal with them.  Don’t be obnoxious and party loudly every weekend, or blare music louder than necessary.  Although you have the right to live your life however you want, the people around you shouldn’t be subjected to discomfort so you can rock out to your favorite music.

Check-In If Something Seems Wrong

If you notice that their front door is wide open when it never is or see their newspapers piling up when they didn’t leave town- check in on them.  Although some call for a wellness check from police officers, many don’t feel safe doing that.  Approach your neighbor’s home carefully, and knock to find out if they’re okay.  If nobody is answering, and you’ve tried texting them, now might be the time to contact law enforcement.

Settle Disputes Thoughtfully

Arguments are bound to happen.  There’s a lot of heat from the weather when you own Phoenix real estate; you don’t need to add more warmth in arguing.  If an argument comes up about anything from property lines to firework litter, be calm and talk about it in a reasonable way.  If you can approach this in a fair and collected manner, you give your neighbor the benefit of the doubt and the chance to keep collected about what’s happening.

Offer Help If You Can

Sometimes being a neighbor is about being there in times of need.  If your neighbor is ill or going through a rough patch, you can offer to help them by mowing their lawn or shoveling snow.  Ensure that you make it clear you’re doing it to be helpful, and not that you’re doing it because you think their yard looks terrible.  If they have kids going through some hard times, you can even offer to babysit here or there.  If they’re a good neighbor, they’ll provide similar kindnesses.

Watch Your Pets

A large area of tension between neighbors can be the pets.  If your dog barks through the night, it’s time to figure out a solution that will keep your dog and your neighbors happy.  Consider crate training your pup or finding something like a chew toy that will keep it busy through the night.  Don’t let your dog use their yard as a bathroom, and be careful about your pup digging through their fence.

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

Al of this boils down to Biblical wisdom: if you treat your neighbor like you want to be treated, you will probably be a good neighbor by default.

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