No home is an island. At least unless you’re Sir Richard Branson.
Most of us live relatively close to other people and most of us would like to live in peace with our neighbors. Unless you live in a development that has a list of homeowner covenants that you agreed to when you moved in, you’re pretty much free to do whatever you like with your property.
That doesn’t mean doing your own thing is the smartest course of action. The people in your neighborhood have at least an interest in what you do with your home, even if only in how it affects the value of their own property. Quality of life issues are subjective, and just because you think a 50-foot sculpture representing man’s dominion over nature (or something), your neighbors are more likely to see the artwork as an eyesore.
The experts at Realtor.com have come up with a list of seven home improvements that may set your neighbors’ teeth on edge and make your life a little more stressful than it needs to be. Here’s an abbreviated version of their list and comments.
Additions that take away a view — or that show too much. Building an addition that destroys a neighbor’s view is highly unpopular. So is an addition where window placement either puts too much of your lifestyle on display or offers you too much of a view into your neighbor’s lifestyle.
Long renovation projects. When you start a project, finish it in a timely manner. Leaving your home as a construction zone for years is not conducive to neighborly feelings. If it’s a big project, try to limit noise and mess.
Gaudy colors. Painting your house bright pink is okay if you live in Key West, but in most parts of the country that is unlikely to make you very popular.
Outdoor living spaces. Adding more outdoor living space is popular now, but your neighbors could view the project as a potential party pavilion where all manner of things go on, especially late at night with your loud friends.
Manicured lawns. Having the lawn maintenance crew show up too early in the morning is not going to help you make friends, nor is having that crew use their (noisy) leaf-blowers to send your leaves and clippings into a neighbor’s yard.
High-powered irrigation systems. Watering your lawn endlessly drives up your water bill and some water could be leaking into your neighbor’s yard and overwatering their landscaping as well.
Extra lighting. Make sure that any outside lighting you install to improve security, add atmosphere, or keep parties going after dark doesn’t shine into a neighbor’s windows.