Creating a great relationship with your new neighbors can make your transition to your new home much more pleasant. The guidelines below may help you start off right and continue to build a mutually beneficial relationship with your new neighbors.

Introduce Yourself

Meet your neighbors when you move in, rather than when you have a complaint or need something done. Try to build a friendly relationship first. But be cautious about the level of befriending your neighbor; make sure they are someone that you would want in your life. It is easier to friend than befriend, and you may not be comfortable with them dropping in or asking for favors. If you’re moving into a community with a homeowners association (HOA), attend the first meeting so you can and start building the relationships. Find out what the “hot topics” are in your neighborhood and respect the rules.

Alert Neighbors to Changes

When you’re planning to add a patio to your house, or redo the landscaping, giving your neighbors advance warning of the construction on your property is courteous. Many disputes get heated simply because of poor communication, and there was a misunderstanding. Good intentions can backfire and have a negative impact when people don’t communicate well.

Know and Follow the Rules

Ensure you’re following the neighborhood and municipal rules when it comes to noise and construction on your property. Learning the community’s regulations should happen before you buy the property, especially if the home you’re buying is part of a condo or homeowners association, so that you can have peace of mind that any landscaping or construction you do doesn’t put you in the wrong. You also want to know and understand the rules on fencing, pets, storage, boats, and motorcycles. Being familiar with regulations and local ordinances makes you aware whether your neighbor is infringing on the rules, too.

Calmly Address the Issue

If problems should arise with your neighbor, it’s best to be calm and tread lightly when talking about issues. If you give someone a ticket, or if you go to court or trial, you may make enemies, and you’ll have to keep living together in the same neighborhood. Mediation is an effective way to discuss the issues, feel concerns were heard, and put down rules without going to court. Respect their privacy as well. Knocking on someone’s door with a complaint may not be received well and could start you off on the wrong foot. Think win/win.

Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated

If it bothers you, it will probably bother your neighbors. Keep your neighbors in mind when you make certain kinds of home and lawn decisions, and you’re less likely to bother them. In some areas, a mounting topic of dispute is using a home for Airbnb stays, for example. The home rental trend elicits strangers and more traffic in the area, which can frustrate your neighbors. If you are renting your home for vacation stays, your neighbor may also be your best ally in terms of watching out for the property and keeping an eye on the guests to make sure they are following the guidelines you set for renting the home.

Getting to know your neighbors is probably the simplest step that you can take to avoid any future misunderstandings. Listen, talk, and consider them. They can be your biggest ally or your biggest foe.