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Remodeling Your Home – Remember Your Neighbors!

If you are planning a major home improvement, an addition or creating that perfect landscape so that you can start that gardening project you have been wanting to do for years, don’t forget about your neighbors. Although you may be willing to put up with the dust, dirt, debris and noise in order to improve the value of your home, your neighbors may not see it in the same light, as shown in Figure 1!

Displeased neighbor during a major remodel
Figure 1 - Displeased neighbor during a major remodel

Within a subdivision or where there are other properties close to yours. Your construction project will most likely be an annoyance to the neighbors. This can have a detrimental affect on the relationship with your neighbors for years to come.

What might they face?

  • Noise from vehicles, power tools, and other mechanical equipment coupled with a continuous noise of driving in nails and banging on metal ventilation pipes can be extremely annoying. Your neighbors, who feel they have the right to a peaceful lifestyle, while at home, can truly be upset. Small children need to have afternoon naps. If you have neighbors who work night shifts and need to sleep during the day, they will not be allowed to accomplish this goal.
  • The numerous trucks parked on the street, in front of your neighbor’s homes, may create driving and parking problems. This can also create a safety problem if there are a lot of young children in the neighborhood.
  • All that is needed is a little wind and dirt, dust, waste construction materials, and garbage will conveniently end up on your neighbor’s properties.
  • The closer your neighbors home is to yours, the more of an annoyance it will be. Where homes have side-by-side driveways, heavy vehicles may do actual damage to your neighbor’s property.
  • Your neighbor’s may have to put up with an unappealing visual image of a garbage dumpster and tons of building materials in your driveway for an extended period of time.
  • A situation that can be uncomfortable, not only to your neighbors, but to your own family is inappropriate language used by the work crews. (This is something that should be discussed with all contractors at the time of contract. Contractors should be informed that inappropriate language will not be tolerated under any conditions).

What can you do to help reduce the pain and anguish suffered by your neighbors as you increase the value of your property?

  • The first point is to notify your neighbors before the project starts. Don’t let them wake-up to the sound of trucks rolling into your driveway. If you tell your neighbors what you are going to do, how long it is going to take and that you will do everything in your power not to inconvenience them, it will go along way to peace and harmony.
  • Be sensitive to the hours of the day. Tell contractors that they can only work between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. There is nothing worse than being woken up, or not being able to enjoy your dinner. If possible, don’t allow contractors to work on weekends.
  • Ensure that the contractors understand that they are responsible for any and all damage to your neighbor’s properties and that you will hold back final payment until any damage to any other property is rectified and repaired.
  • Ensure that the contractors understand that they are responsible and that it is a priority, that they retrieve and cleanup any and all garbage and/or debris that ends up on your neighbor’s property. Although this applies to all home improvement, remodel or landscape projects, it is especially important with any roofing project. Roofing projects have a tendency to have enormous amounts of debris scattered for long distances.
  • If it is a project such as landscape or an addition where a lot of the work is being done outside, you should ensure that the work area is properly protected in order to prevent children from using your construction zone as a playground with the possibility that they could get injured.
  • If your project is raising a lot of dust, it is a good gesture to provide your neighbors with car wash coupons. On the same note, it may be appropriate to offer to have your neighbor’s windows and siding washed or gutters cleaned as maybe appropriate.

Once the project is fully complete, people can hear themselves think again and the garbage has been hauled away - throw a neighborhood barbecue and don’t be cheap, hamburgers for the kids, steaks for the adults and you supply the beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages. The neighbors will be dying to see what you have done to your home. Who knows, they might be an annoyance to you and your family in the near future!