So you think you know your neighbors, right? They politely pull up your garbage cans when you’re out of town, walk over with misdelivered mail, and are quick to wave when you enter your driveway. But what are a few things they may NEVER tell you? Family Handyman’s Jenny Stanley and Alexa Erickson name a few facts your neighbors may prefer to keep to themselves.
While this is the time of year that holiday decorations come down, there are always a few holdouts — those who put up those decorations with great gusto and seem not ready to part with them for another year. If your neighbor’s mailbox retains its Santa hat beyond mid-January and they are still lighting up Rudolph on the front lawn, you might want to offer to help them stow their stuff.
Is your neighbor stealing your WiFi?. If so, you won’t know. Make sure you create a strong password to protect it, and never use your name or address.
There is no accounting for taste. Lawn ornaments may do it for them but are unsightly to you. If you are annoyed every time you drive by a house boasting gnomes, or you can see them from your own home, either install a privacy screen or simply close the blinds that overlook them. One man’s treasures are another man’s junk, or whatever the saying.
No neighbor will come knocking on your door to let you know they have bedbugs. “If you consider your neighbors your friends, there’s a chance they could spread bed bugs into your home when you invite them over, and there’s not much you can do to prevent it,” says Stanley and Erickson. “We definitely don’t recommend never inviting your neighbors over again, but it couldn’t hurt to do bed bug checks in your home every now and again.
Your neighbor may not be able to see inside your home in the daytime, but if you have a habit of keeping your blinds or drapes open at night, it’s safe to assume they watch and see everything you do. Or wear. Or don’t wear. 🙂 If you’re fine with that, carry on. If not, make a habit of closing blinds or drapes as soon as the sun goes down.
That birdbath or koi pond in the next-door neighbor’s backyard? If it’s a den of mosquitos, it’s unlikely they will tell you about it. “A mosquito problem can make lounging in the backyard miserable in some parts of the country, so it couldn’t hurt to ask your neighbor to refresh the water in their birdbath every couple of days—the whole neighborhood will thank you!” say the writers.
No one wants to think the neighbors are listening, including you. But some people grew up yelling and never stopped. If you hear dramatic moments coming from next door and would rather not, close your windows, add soundproofing to the walls or keep a fountain going to drown out the verbal altercations.
There are a host of other annoyances the pair mention: termites that can hop a fence and infest your property, their dog using your yard as their personal pee/poop territory, poor yard maintenance, or even their choice of exterior colors for their home. All of these things may come to light before you buy a home if you ask your Realtor to ask about them specifically ahead of time, so they can check with owners around the neighborhood you are considering. But it’s almost guaranteed you won’t learn all of it. There are some things you can complain about nicely (like leaving an anonymous note on a door) and other things, such as perennially barking dogs, you may be able to bring up with your city’s non-emergency assistance folk. In most cases, however, you have to grin and bear it.