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Etiquette for New Homeowners and Neighbors

Written by Mark Nash on Tuesday, 18 April 2006 7:00 pm
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Making a new neighborhood home can be stressful, but it can also be filled with adventure. In our efforts to be good hosts, neighbors and guests, it makes sense for us all to take a moment to review what's proper and what's not in your home and the home of others.

Do:

as a new homeowner:

  • Host your own housewarming party. If you're a new homeowner, invite friends and family over to see the new place.

  • Be open to learn from neighbors with different cultural backgrounds.

  • Wave to your new neighbors if you don't have the time to talk.

    when welcoming new neighbors:

  • Return any spare sets of keys you may have held for the previous homeowners.

  • Introduce yourself, your partner and children before they seek you out. New homeowners, young and old, love to be welcomed.

  • Offer to introduce your new neighbors and their dog(s) to other dogs they might run into on neighborhood walks.

  • Offer advice on your favorite bakery, hair stylist, baby-sitters and dog groomers.

  • Offer to take mountains of packing and moving boxes to the local recycling center for new homeowners.

  • Offer to host an informal neighborhood get-together for your new neighbors to meet the current ones.

  • Know when it's time to go home. Don't wear out your welcome with the new homeowners.

  • Bring your new neighbors bottles of chilled spring water on moving day and offer to catch up with them once they get settled.

  • Deliver your name, address and phone number with a list of emergency numbers to your new neighbor.

  • Offer to clear recently moved-in new neighbors sidewalks after a snowfall, especially if they moved from a non-snow climate.

  • Wave to your new neighbors if you don't have the time to talk.

  • Be open to learn from neighbors with different cultural backgrounds.

    Don't:

  • Register for gifts if you're hosting a housewarming party in your new home.

  • Expect housewarming guests to bring gifts and if you do receive gifts, open after the party.

  • Drop in on new homeowners, call first.

  • Offer decorating advice to a new homeowner unless asked.

  • Don't ask how much they paid or imply that the new homeowner over or underpaid. People consider financial information private.

  • Gossip about the previous homeowners, you might not know if the new owners still talk with them.

  • Gossip about others in the neighborhood. Let the new residents make their own decisions.

  • Attach ribbons, signs or flags to the new homeowners property without asking permission.

  • Ask your new neighbor to trim trees or hedges on your first meeting, they probably know what needs to be done, in time.

  • Expect new homeowners to have free time. Moving, working and setting up a household is at the minimum a part-time endeavor.

    Housewarming Gift Suggestions

  • Personalized stationary with the new homeowners address.

  • Homemade baked goods.

  • Fresh-picked vegetables and fruit from your garden.

  • Blooming or foliage houseplants.

  • Watering can for inside plants.

  • Specialty Coffee and Teas.

  • Exotic spices.

  • Gift certificates for home improvement stores, house cleaners, dog walkers, landscapers, local restaurants, spa, window washers.

  • Picture frames.

  • Candles.

  • Garden tools, or potted perennials from your yard.

  • Bird feeder or house.

    A general rule with etiquette is to treat others as you would wish to be treated. Be sure to give new neighbors space to adjust to their new surrounding, but be warm and welcoming when the time is right.

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