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What’s your current neighbor situation? Think about it. Do you hang with them or hide from them? Are they quiet or loud? Would you recognize your neighbors if you ran into them at the grocery store? Have you ever considered moving because your neighbors made life difficult? Or, have you ever considered moving into a neighborhood because you already knew people there? Neighbors have a HUGE impact on your quality of life, and how much you value your home!


If you want good neighbors, go and be a good neighbor.

If you like where you live now, but you know you could up your neighborly game, here are our favorite pieces of advice for getting to know those who live around you:


Be a porch person. Don’t have a front porch? Open the garage and hang out in the front of your house – be visible. Think about it, residents who are present and know what’s going on in their neighborhood are the starting point for crime prevention. You don’t have to be a member of an actual neighborhood watch program to know familiar cars, faces and activities on your street. Sure, you can do this by sneaking a peek out your front window every once in a while, but actual relationships start outside between the street and your front door. Get out there! Water a plant, pull out a lawn chair, grab a drink, watch the sunset. And if a neighbor walks by, strike up conversation! Learn their name (or at least make up a good nickname in your head to remember them by!) and get their number. A great deterrent to crime is having a fleet of neighbors on their porches, portraying a connected community of residents who are watching out for each other.

Take a stroll with your best friend – YOUR DOG! You know your dog needs more walks than he/she’s getting. Grab your leash and a doggy poop bag (because you’re not a jerk), and set off around the neighborhood, expecting to start some sort of conversation with any neighbor you can spot out front. Don’t be afraid to interrupt the guy working on his car, or the couple working in their yard. If your dog is cute, small talk is sure to progress quickly into stories about favorite dogs and neighborhood dogs and local dog parks and…

Be a follower – the social media type! Being seen in person is important, but active on social media can give you access to much more information, in real time, from anywhere! See if your neighborhood, development or community has any kind of social media page for you to connect to. If there’s not one specific to your neighborhood, look for your local Facebook neighborhood page. Search hashtags, too. Whatever the name of your development is, do a hashtag search with the name and city. You’ll be surprised at how many people post to social media including their specific neighborhood! Once you connect, you’ll see right away the neighbors who seem to know the area the best.

Be a giver. Making cookies? Bag up a few and bring them next door. Stopping at the store for some potted spring plants to spruce up your front door area? Grab a second succulent or spring flower and bring it to your neighbor. If you notice NEW neighbors, there’s a perfect opportunity to help out. Write a short list of the great places to eat or grab a snack around town and include it in a welcome card, along with a potted plant as a welcome gift. Who wouldn’t want a thoughtful neighbor welcoming them to new ‘hood?

Basically, are you the kind of neighbor YOU would want living next door?




Quality neighbors increase the value of your home.

If you’re interested in a home, do some research on the neighbors first. The neighborhood IS the neighbors. You might have your own neighbor nightmare stories, or you may have heard them from friends and family, and some are bad enough to convince people they need to move. Is that why the home you’re looking at is for sale?

Many home buyers express a fear of ending up in a great house with lousy neighbors and living with regret. Wouldn’t you want to do all you could to prevent that from happening? Here are our top four ways of checking into the quality of a neighborhood before you even set foot in a home for sale:


Drive-thru. Just get in the car. You already know the neighborhoods or general areas you’re interested in. So take a drive on a Friday night and check out the area around sunset. Drive over on a Saturday morning. Pass through on a Sunday. Definitely head over during high traffic times (especially if there’s a school around) and see how the area is impacted at those times. As you drive through a neighborhood at night, go slow and roll your windows down. If it’s appropriate and you don’t feel like a creep, find a place to pull over and just listen. Too many barking dogs? Too much traffic? Not enough street lighting? Too many cars parked on the street? Is there an obvious party house? What’s the mailbox situation – each home has their own or is there a community box? (Pay attention to if any neighbors are outside – they’re probably keeping their eye on you, much like the porch person advice we gave above!)

Google drive-thru. Sometimes it’s impossible to drive through your prospective neighborhood at the times that would be helpful, or you’re just too far away from the area to check it out in person. So get on Google maps and get down to the street view level, as if you’re walking it yourself. Not only do you get a good bird’s eye lay of the land, but with the street view feature, you can get a good sense of the condition of the street, how close the houses are to each other, and much more. Remember, the images displayed may not be the most current, so that motorhome you see parked in the street may no longer be there, and that run-down house on the corner may already have been fixed up and flipped.

Sold tells a story. Whatever home finding app you’re using (Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, etc.) check out a neighborhood’s recent sales instead of just seeing what’s on the market. Sometimes the pictures of what’s recently sold will give you a good picture of things that may have been updated since your Google drive-thru experience. The details in the listings are helpful, too, since many realtors add in their listings important information about the neighborhood, surrounding community, special events and what the home is close to.

Use your dog again! If it works, park near the neighborhood you’re interested in and bring your pup. Don’t have a dog? Just take a walk! This is a huge investment you’re thinking about making in this community – the biggest investment of your life! Walk it on a weekend morning when you’re more likely to meet some possible future neighbors and ask away!


Here at The Alba Team, we care about your neighbors. We know the safety and serenity of an area can make or break your decision to buy. Why waste your time? That’s why when you involve us in your home search, you’re getting a team who will look into everything from crime maps to resale value, we’ll research the trends in the area, and Mark Alba himself will literally drive around to get a feel of what you’re looking for. He’s far from shy and easily strikes up conversation when he spots a resident. Often a team member will send a list of homes over to Mark to let him know what the plan is for a specific buyer, and Mark will re-draw the search lines based on what he’s driven and seen, and what he knows about the buyer. By the time you get to the fun part (heading to see houses with Mark and his team), we’ve already weeded through communities to lead you to the best possibilities. That’s what we love – leading you toward something you’ll love and be comfortable in for years to come!

California Association of Realtors – Who Are The People in Your Neighborhood

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