Would You Like To Be Your Neighbor?
In the perceived fast paced world of the internet, Facebook, smart phones and virtual video games you rarely hear folks talking “old style” about meeting or welcoming new neighbors. That’s not to say that the idea of living in a close-knit community with friendly neighbors that watch out for each other is dead. I do come across small communities where efforts are put forth by residence to bring neighbors together.
Case in point- I recently helped a family buy a wonderful family home in a community of 12 homes where the neighbors were very active and involved. During the home inspection, three neighbors came over to meet my clients (the would-be new neighbors) and it came with an invitation for all of us to join them at their every Thursday “Wine at the Pine”. This is where they would all gather under the big pine tree in the Cul-de-sac with the kids and a few bottles of wine. I thought it was brilliant and it got me thinking about what it looks like to get my clients in touch with neighbors in their new communities - communities where there is not such a propensity for neighbors to come together.
We’ve all heard the stories of the iconic “welcome wagon” and the nostalgic stories of neighbor Jane walking across the street in her pretty blue dress, white apron and a steaming fresh apple pie in hand. Yes, there is a chance that “Jane” across he street will beat you to it but what if that just doesn't happen? What if the future of the relationship between you and your new neighbors rested on you?
Creating a tone of a relationship with neighbors early on can be valuable beyond initial comprehesion. I suggest you step out on a limb and create the introduction yourself. You may very well meet your next life long friend or at the very least more invitations for the kids to swim in their pool and someone to collect your mail when you’re on vacation. The opportunities and possibilties are nearly endless.
So your probably thinking to yourself- "what would I do?” Moving is a big event and the thought of adding more to your plate sounds a bit daunting- I know. But I promise, just a little effort will go a long way crating a long term connection between you and those who live around you.
Here is a list of suggestions that are sure to be winners…
1. Ask your real estate agent for help! Most wouldn’t think to do it but it’s a smart first step. Your agent can easily provide you the names and addresses of your neighbors to get you a head start. Because I understand the value, I actually mail out welcome cards to the neighbors of my clients to help them jump start the introduction. Don’t be afraid to ask your agent if they’ll to do the same. Your agent may be able to provide other useful information like names of children, how long they’ve lived on the street and what they do for work.
2. Don’t wait, get a head start. Experience has shown that the earlier the better. If you’re able, try making the connection with a neighbor while your moving truck is still in the driveway. Once you know you’ll be moving in, collect the names and addresses of your neighbors and create your plan of approach. Put it on your calendar and stick to it . Give it the same priority as turning on your utilities- you’ll be glad you did.
3. A face-to-face is best but if you can’t make that happen there are other ways. Try this- bake fresh cookies. Deliver the cookies in a sealed container to your neighbors doorstep, wrapped in ribbon. Know their names and include a handwritten note and a casual photo introducing you and the rest of the family. Your new neighbors will be delighted to get the cookies and will immediately connect faces to the warm gesture. It works every time.
Even if you’re not looking for that oh-so-Brady connection, it makes since to know who lives around you. Remember- beyond friendly relationships, a connection with your those in your area sets a good example for the kids, creates security in numbers and the peace of mind knowing that your not alone in your community. Do it!