Neighbors. We all have them -- and we are all neighbors to the people that live beside, above or below us. The good news? According to a recent Trulia survey, 67 percent of American homeowners said they like their neighbors! However, that does leave the other 33 percent, and those folks fall into the category of "annoying neighbors."
For the sake of neighborhood tranquility and harmony, let's do a spot check to see if you fall into the category of nice or annoying. If you identify with one or more of the factors below -- you just might be an annoying neighborhood.
Let's face it, the most common complaint about an annoying neighbor is noise. Here are just a few of the biggest noise complaints: screaming and yelling, loud music, revving your engine, construction noise, unruly kids, barking dogs and practicing musical instruments.
All of those noises are fine within reason, but where do you cross the line? When you become veer into annoying territory depends on the time of the day or night and the frequency. When your teenager practices his trombone at 11:00 at night, or your roommate races out of the driveway on his Harley at four in the morning... well, you've officially stepped into the "annoying neighbor zone."
2. Blocking the View
In some of the most expensive neighborhoods, the views are the reason the homes are so valuable. Whether it's hillside homes in a suburban community or retreats overlooking the water or mountains, views are a valuable commodity. Have you planted tress that will eventually grow to block the views of your neighbor beside or above you? Have you installed air-conditioning units on the roof of your home that are in the direct eye-line of the houses above you? Or worse yet, are you planning to or have you already built a second story onto your home that now completely blocks your neighbors view of the water or city lights?
If you said yes to any of the above, congrats -- you're an annoying neighbor.
3. Destroying the Night Sky
Especially in less urbanized areas, the night sky is a beautiful thing. You can look up and clearly see the stars and the moon. Well, you can unless you've installed one of those industrial-looking outdoor florescent spotlights that makes you feel like you're lost in a Walmart parking lot. If you have, then you most likely have obscured all stargazing potential in your hood with light pollution. (Not to mention that your neighbors probably have to wear eye masks to bed or install additional curtains to block out the light.)
In fact, in my Southern California neighborhood, one neighbor installed string lights encircling his palm trees up almost 50 feet into the air. For those neighbors around him, when we look up to see the night sky, all we see are Christmas palm trees and an unnatural glow of light.
4. Hedges Make Great Neighbors
Did you top off or cut down a hedge or trim a voluminous tree between you and your neighbor's house? Even if the planting was on your property, if it had been serving as a barrier between you and the house next door, removing it or damaging it in any way has the potential to become a neighbor nightmare.
5. Not Respecting the Property Line
Before you put in a new fence, did you check with and work with neighbor first to determine the property line? It will be a source of aggravation if you have overstepped your boundaries, even by a few feet. Knowing your property line is key to neighbor harmony -- and your bottom line! It's an enormous expense if you have to tear anything down and move it.
6. Dogs, Dogs, Dogs
I have seen neighbors go to war over this one, despite the fact that their dogs are wonderful, loving creatures. There is nothing worse than an inconsiderate neighbor that leaves their dog outside all day or night while the dog barks, yelps and howls. The thing is, it usually happens when Sparky is home alone and missing his owner, so you may not even realize that your sweet, fluffy friend is the terror of the 'hood.
7. Which Way the Wind Blows
Are you barbecuing juicy hamburgers or grilling smoked meat every night? Well, have you checked to see if the smoke from your grill blows right into your neighbors' living room window? If it is, here's a newsflash: that's really annoying.
8. Wi-Fi Issues
Keeping your Wi-Fi unsecured without a password is, believe or not, just as annoying as stealing Wi-Fi from your neighbors' internet connection. Yes, it's true! I received a complaint from my neighbor that his teenage son had parental restrictions on his Internet usage. So, since his home Internet was off limits, their teenage son was jumping onto my Wi-Fi to avoid the parental blocks that they had put in place.
Yikes. Parking can be a real source of contention, especially in dense, crowded neighborhoods. Most neighbors think that the parking spot on the street in front of their home is sacred ground. So if you and your spouse each have a car, plus one for each of your two teenage children, then you may be a parking hog -- especially if you have garage and driveway space that you are not using. While it's not illegal to park in front of your neighbor's home all the time, try to be considerate and use the spaces allocated to your property. (Or at least the ones that are nearby.)
10. The Junkyard
We all have seen Hoarders on TV... and we have all breathed sigh of relief that we don't live next to one. But subtle hints of hoarding, such as an abandoned car in the driveway, or piles of old, broken patio furniture and storage boxes, an un-mown lawn full of dead trees and the like can feel just as hoarder-ish to your neighbors who have to look at it every day.
11. The Basketball Hoop
Ah, outdoor driveway sports. It's as American as apple pie. Unfortunately, those hoops attached to the peak of your garage are often located directly besides your neighbors' second-story bedroom window, which could be their master bedroom or a nursery for a young baby. If you're prone to late night one-on-ones with friends, try to consider your neighbors before you start dribbling.
What about you? Do you have any tips on how to avoid becoming an annoying neighbor?