Whether you're a first-time homeowner, or looking to downsize from your larger home, there are many advantages to moving into a low maintenance condo. In addition to low maintenance living and a lock-and-leave lifestyle condo living also means you'll have plenty of neighbours nearby.
Everyone has had neighbours at some point in their life and, while there’s no 'rule book' on how to be the perfect neighbour, there are some general principles that apply. So if you’re downsizing from the old, sprawling family home to a fresh, new condo, here are a few reminders on how to be a good neighbour.
1. First Impressions
The old adage of first impressions being the most important holds true for a first date, job interview or in this case, meeting a new neighbour. While it would certainly be a kind gesture, no one expects you to go around door-to-door offering cookies but acknowledgment is a great first step in turning strangers into friends and a smile goes a long way.
So does introducing yourself as you ride the elevator together or get off on the same floor. Struggling to make conversation? Keep it simple. Did you move in recently? How do you like the area? What is there to do around here? You don’t have to become best friends right away or ever for that matter however, a smile and some friendly conversation is a great start.
2. Polite Pets
You’ve recently moved in and you’ve managed to meet a few of your floor mates early on. Things are going swimmingly. While you may have made a great first impression, it’s important to make sure your pets do the same. While dogs and cats are cute and cuddly; believe it or not, not everyone loves Fluffy the way you do.
If you have your pet in the hallway, or just outside your condo lobby, make sure to be sensitive to your neighbours. Being greeted by a hyperactive dog can be overwhelming for some, while others may have allergies. Inside your home make sure you are in control of your pets. Barking is annoying no matter the time of day and with neighbours close by, it’s important your pets are well trained.
3. Rules And Respect
Condo living is community living, which means there are rules to be respected and norms to be observed. For example, most condos have procedures in place for waste management. Make sure you aren’t the outlier leaving waste around for someone else to move or pick-up. It won’t likely go over too well.
Lobbies, hallways, and on-site amenities are communal spaces. Respect those who share these spaces with you by following the rules and respecting the space; no one wants to live in dirt and disorder. As the old saying goes, do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
4. Ask Questions
It ties into respecting your neighbours, and it’s really quite easy to do. Ask questions. If you’re new to a condo, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Better to ask in advance than to assume something that’s wrong, and in the process, frustrate those around you. Asking questions about the property, about routines and rules, shows that you respect your living space, your neighbours, and it’s another way to start a conversation. There’s really no downside. If you don’t know, simply ask!
5. Discuss Issues
The main thing we're getting at is communication. It's key to being a good neighbour, especially when your decisions can directly impact the people around you. It should go without saying but it’s important to be reminded once in a while. If your neighbours are getting on your nerves, put on a smile, knock on their door, and have a discussion. Passive-aggressive is never a good approach and neither is ignoring the problem in front of you. If it frustrates you now it will likely still frustrate you a month from now. Just as you would prefer a conversation rather than retaliation, have the same courtesy for those around you.
6. Lend A Hand
Want to really turn strangers into friends? Be quick to lend a hand. More often than not, your generosity is likely to be politely declined, but offering to help out goes a long way. Holding the elevator or helping a neighbour bring their groceries in might just turn into a blossoming friendship. And you never know, if you’re quick to offer assistance in a time of need, the same may be returned to you when you need it most.
Bonus: Park Well!
This one is pretty straightforward. The same principle applies to the grocery store, movie theatre, and every other parking lot on the planet. However, there are hundreds of parking spots at the movie theatre - and a limited number in your condo complex. It’s frustrating to squeeze in and out of your door because of the poor parking job of the person beside you. Or, even worse, coming home after a long day with a trunk full of groceries to realize someone has parked in your spot. Remember that at your condo, each person has their own stall for a reason. Park well.
There’s nothing revolutionary about being a good neighbour. No matter what type of home you own, the same principles generally apply. It’s good to remember that with condo living, neighbours are close by and share some of the same space you do. Do the basics well, be courteous and kind, and you’ll be the best neighbour on your floor.