We Avoid Our Neighbors More Than We Think

There’s a saying that goes ‘love thy neighbor,’ but for many Americans, it’s more difficult than you’d think. A new study examining people’s relationships with their neighbors found that over a third of those polled (36 percent) have had issues that escalate into full-blown arguments, with a quarter stating that they have a long-running feud with someone living next to them. According to research commissioned by Homes.com, the most common reason for an argument is over parking, followed closely by animal noise, general noise and disputes over mess. That might explain why over 40 percent of Americans try to avoid their errant neighbors intentionally, with Northeast neighbors more than twice as likely to say their neighbors are rude when compared to the Southwest. The biggest reason for avoidance? Simply not having time to stop and talk or being too busy ranks number one, however, thinking the people next door are weird, simply not getting along with them or feeling they are too nosy are common reasons most avoid a chat. In fact, nosy neighbors were a major factor in the survey, with one in five (20 percent) of respondents suspecting their neighbor spies on them – keeping tabs of their whereabouts and what they are up to. Although we love our homes, not-so-neighborly interactions can sometimes be a catalyst to move, with one in six (16 percent) having actually moved in part because of a neighbor, while a further 20 percent are either currently considering it or have thought about it in the past. Grant Simmons, Vice President at Homes.com says, “We often hear location, location, location as a key consideration of where we choose to live and neighbors are a large part of that location component.” “Nothing enhances or diminishes a community’s attraction as much as the residents themselves, especially in areas where a neighbor’s behavior can directly impact those around them.” Neighborhoods are not all war and espionage. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) say they have neighbors who they consider being friends, three in ten trust their neighbors a lot, and eighty six percent of people do rate themselves as either a good or very good neighbor. While the stereotype suggests people who live in cities tend to be less neighborly, the results of the survey reveal city people are almost twice as likely to regularly hang out with their neighbors, while people who live in rural communities tend to avoid their neighbors compared to their counterparts in the city and suburbs. Although data suggests city dwellers like to spend time with neighbors, they are almost twice as likely to have their personal items stolen by one of their neighbors. Sleep disturbances are also an issue, with almost twice as many city as both suburb & rural dwellers (18.2 percent vs. 9.2 percent & 8.4 percent) complaining about being woken up before 2 a.m. because of noise coming from their neighbor’s homes. Late night noise is one thing, but sometimes neighbors can be a little too friendly to one another. One in six Americans have had a neighbor flirt outrageously or try to make a move on them, with almost one in four city dwellers fending off advances. “Neighbors can make or break a home, though it’s often a factor that only comes to light after a home purchase.” “It’s always good advice to walk around a neighborhood you’re considering and chatting to the folks you see.” “Not only is it a neighborly thing to do it can also highlight the potential good and not-so-good you’re likely to experience after your move,” Simmons said. And once you’ve found and purchased your home? “Although being a good neighbor can have its own personal rewards, neighborhoods with great reputations, friendly attitudes, and shared community activities often inspire greater demand and higher home prices when you’re considering to sell.”