How to settle into a new neighbourhood
15 Jul 2020
When choosing where to live, you’ll have been able to do a lot of research before you move in: you’ll have visited the property a few times, had your solicitor conduct local searches, scoped out the local schools and amenities. But until you move in, you can’t really get to know your new neighbours, and having good neighbours is really important to feeling settled and happy in your new home!
Never underestimate the comfort of knowing that someone is nearby who’ll keep an eye on your home, take in parcels for you or feed your cats when you’re away. Who knows, you might even find you have a brand new best friend living right next door! First, though, you need to start building some bridges and making an effort to get to know those living nearby. Here are some great ways to do just that.
1. Say hi!
Moving day is going to be hectic. There will be a lot to organise, a lot of stress and physical labour, and the last thing you might feel like doing is being sociable and visiting your new neighbours! Those curtains will be twitching, though, and your new neighbours will be just as anxious as you are to know that they’ll have someone nice living next door, and taking just ten minutes out of your day to knock on their door and introduce yourself can really help you to get off on the right foot.
Start with your immediate neighbours on moving day, and then work your way down the street over the coming week. Just be smiley and pleasant, perhaps apologise for any inconvenience you might have caused by having the van outside on moving day, and be enthusiastic about your move. Saying, “I’ve been really looking forward to meeting my new neighbours!” will come across really well.
2. Invite the neighbours round
When you’re settled and have your house in order, you might feel brave enough to invite your neighbours round for a drink, or even a barbecue if the weather is up to it. They’ll be dying to see what you’re doing to the place, and curious to know more about you, and this is a good way to meet everyone properly in one go. If you prefer, or if you feel that your neighbours might be a little shy, offer individuals the chance to call round for a cup of tea and a chat.
3. Ask for advice
Everyone likes to feel that they’re knowledgeable and helpful. Asking your neighbours if they know of the best places to go shopping, or what they think of the local schools, or even which days the bins get collected is a good way to get to know your neighbours. They’re an excellent source of local knowledge and experience and it’s important to feel as though you have a local support network if you want to feel settled.
4. Take part in local events
When it comes to getting involved in the wider community, attending local events such as school fetes, local theatre productions and social groups will help you to get to know the lay of the land. You’ll meet new people and get a feel for the town in which you live.
If you have children, they’ll naturally make friends at school and you can make an effort to get to know the parents of their friends. You can also involve yourself in local groups such as Cubs or Brownies, and if you have time to offer their school to listen to children read or change reading books then even better. If your children are young, taking them to local playgroups is a really easy way to meet new parents in your area.
If you have a hobby such as knitting, or like playing sports, find local groups to join and you’ll quickly make friends.
5. Volunteer your time
If there are local causes that are important to your area, such as campaigns against local planning decisions or groups in support of local environmental issues, you could get involved to show willingness and support.
Sadly, many areas have food banks - could you offer your time to help stock their shelves, or help to hand out food parcels?
6. Be a good neighbour in return
Take in parcels for your neighbours, offer to feed their cats or water their plants whilst they’re on holiday, keep your front garden tidy and take your bins up promptly! Be very careful about parking and do your utmost not to park regularly in someone else’s ‘spot’ without prior consent.
There is very little in the world that is worth getting into an argument with a neighbour about. Your home should be where you feel safe and happy, and a fall-out with a neighbour will cause unimaginable stress so avoid it at all costs.
Once you’re on good terms with your neighbours, you could suggest setting up a neighbourhood WhatsApp group to keep in touch with anything urgent. Telling each other if there’s someone suspicious lurking, or checking up on each other if you haven’t seen one another for a while is a really nice way to maintain your ongoing relationships with your neighbours. If your street is part of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, find out who’s leading it and ask if there’s anything you can do to help.
You’ll soon settle in and feel at home in your new house if you take the time to get to know your neighbours and get involved in your local community.