Be the welcome wagon: Tips on how to be a good neighbor
May 4, 2023, 3:00 PM
Most Realtors will tell you, as does MovingLabor.com, that 80% of all moves in the United States take place between April and September. Summer is the busiest time of year to move because kids are off from school. So, over the next few months, you may see some moving vans going in and out of your neighborhood. A moving van or two may be delivering a new neighbor on your street, next door, or directly behind you.
Be The Welcome Wagon
A few days after the moving truck drives away, walk over and say hello. If they are busy unpacking, keep the introduction short and sweet and ask for a better time to visit.
When you return, bring a couple people from the neighborhood so the newbie can expand their contacts. Be careful not to bring too many people. You don’t want to overwhelm them.
Bring a little gift.
Because you do not know if your neighbor has food allergies or does not drink alcohol, bring a $15 gift card to a locally-owned café or restaurant in the neighborhood. If you do bring baked goods, include an ingredient card.
A potted plant, succulents or a bouquet of flowers from your garden is also a great welcoming gift.
A folder with contact information for local businesses such as utilities, trash and recycling, cable and internet providers, plumbers, electricians, babysitters, veterinarians and any service they might need right away will surely be appreciated. Include take-out menus for nearby restaurants.
And, of course, bring them a Rosie on the House Home Maintenance Handbook!
Write a note.
If you are uncomfortable going over unannounced leave a welcome card at the door. Describe which house you live in and who you are, and mention that you’d be happy to meet them in person. Provide your phone number. Here’s a sample note:
“Welcome to the neighborhood from the Romeros next door! Let us know if you need anything as you unpack and get to know the neighborhood. We would be pleased to meet you! Feel free to call us at 555.123.4567.”
Say “hi” when you see them out for a walk. Invite them to join you on the porch for some refreshing Arizona sun tea to cool down on their way back.
Once you both feel comfortable, take them to coffee if they don’t know anyone in the area, or invite them to your patio for happy hour.
Have some fun! Invite them over to watch a few silly movies about neighbors:
- The ‘Burbs
- The Stepford Wives (2004 version)
- Edward Scissorhands
- Keeping Up With The Joneses
- And, of course, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
If you and the neighbor have kids the same age, schedule a playdate. With more households having multiple generations under one roof, there may be retirees in the home (it could be them). If so, connect them with retirees in the neighborhood who play golf, pickleball and mahjong, or participate in other weekly activities.
Encourage them to join apps like Ring, Nextdoor, Citizen and groups on Facebook so they can see who lives in their new neighborhood and what is happening in the area. The apps are helpful when seeking information about lost pets, crime, yard sales, special events and more.
If your neighbors are temporary and keep changing, as has become the trend with vacation rentals through online brokers such as Evolve, Airbnb, VRBO, Housetrip and Roomorama, be sure to meet them too. Ask the property owner to keep you informed when short-term neighbors arrive. You don’t need to be the welcome wagon or their friend, but both of you need to know who is living next door.
Welcoming a new neighbor makes them feel connected, and that is good for the whole neighborhood.
Join Rosie on the House every Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions & comments.