You do your best to be a good neighbor, but there’s always room for improvement. Here's an idea: This year, take some extra steps and make a bit more effort to be an even better neighbor. It'll pay off, trust us!
“Whether you're picking up litter or helping paint your neighbor's home, you can show you care about improving your neighborhood,” says Daniel Losk, a spokesperson for State Farm.
Here are a few ways to make good on that “new year, new you” resolution while also benefiting the community you live in.
Vow No. 1: Maintain curb appeal
Your home's appearance is a direct reflection of how much respect you have for your property and those who live around you. It can even affect your neighborhood's property values. That's why it's important to maintain the curb appeal of your home. Clear your gutters, trim trees and bushes, mow the lawn, and remove bikes or other eyesores littering the lawn or driveway.
Amir Hamideh, a real estate agent for HomeSmart Realty West in Carlsbad, CA, says adding a fresh coat of paint to your home's exterior can do a world of good. Most experts recommend painting every five to 10 years.
Vow No. 2: Avoid sprinkler runoff
Don’t be one of those wasteful neighbors who leave their sprinklers on for so long that the water runs into the streets or their neighbor’s property. Experts suggest running the irrigation system manually once a month to check for any issues like clogged or broken sprinklers. And if your landscape has sloped areas, schedule a few shorter water cycles in the same day.
Vow No. 3: Be a responsible pet owner
There are now more U.S. households with pets than there are U.S. households with children, according to State Farm. And, while you may consider Fido a member of the family, don’t assume your neighbors love pets as much as you. Make sure to keep your dog on a leash during walks, always pick up after it, and don't let it do its business on your neighbors' lawns.
Vow No. 4: Bring your trash bin in
Don’t be trashy! People who habitually leave their garbage bins outside where passersby can see them can hurt curb appeal.
“Trash bins should be put away as soon as they’ve been serviced,” says Hamideh.
He says apart from bins not looking nice in front of a home, it can also take up precious parking space in communities with little to no parking. That can be a load of rubbish for those circling to find a spot.
Vow No. 5: Install ample exterior lighting
Having adequate outdoor lighting improves visibility and safety in the neighborhood, enhances the nighttime environment, and can uphold property values.
A good neighbor knows to keep the outdoor areas well-illuminated with lower electricity costs by using energy-efficient lighting.
Hamideh says it's also a good idea to use motion-detection floodlights and solar-powered path lights in the exterior to give more light to the property.
And make sure to use lighting that doesn’t shine onto neighbors' properties or bedroom windows.
Vow No. 6: Give neighbors a heads-up when having a party
Go ahead and party like it’s 2020—but be sure to let your neighbors know if you're planning a big bash that has the potential to be noisy.
Losk says you can score points with your neighbors by providing notice about upcoming parties and how many people you anticipate will attend. Assure them there will be a cut-off time for music.
"You should also clearly share with your guests where available parking is out of respect to your neighbors,” says Losk.
Vow No. 7: Assemble a neighborhood watch
Launched in 1972 and sponsored by the National Sheriffs' Association, Neighborhood Watch programs have helped combat crime and build unity in communities around the country.
“Just as you rely on them, your neighbors rely on you to keep the whole neighborhood safe,” says Losk.
If you and your neighbors are looking for a better sense of security, suggest organizing and participating in a Neighborhood Watch program.
Losk says communities can educate their neighborhood about specific safety concerns and can arrange for a local police officer to complete a security survey.
Vow No. 8: Start a homeowners association
Some people love them and some people hate them, but the primary purpose of a homeowners association, or HOA, is to set and enforce rules in a neighborhood. Experts say starting an HOA can help maintain neighborhood property values and protect everyone’s quality of life.
"HOAs allow a certain standard of structure the community must maintain," says Hamideh.
Losk says homeowners should take an active role in bettering their neighborhood by also speaking to the city council or community groups about what progress and programs they'd like to see.
“Encourage your neighbors to join you,” he says.