Being neighbors doesn’t always mean being close. Only 20 percent of Americans regularly spend time with their next-door neighbors. One-third of respondents say they’ve never interacted with their neighbors at all and don’t even know their names. Worse, 60 percent of Americans say they have had a problem with their neighbors. The long list of complaints include annoying pets, messy yards, foul smells, dangerous trees and noise.
Fortunately, many of these problems can be avoided with home additions that enhance your home’s value, quality of life and relationships with those that live around you. Here are three home improvements you can make that will help to win over your neighbors.
“Good fences make good neighbors,” Robert Frost has famously said. He may have had something else in mind, but the phrase is accurate when applied to home improvements that can improve neighborly relations. Fence installation can prevent many of the most common issues that cause friction between neighbors. These include problems with children, pets and property encroachments.
Before building a fence, make sure to research local zoning ordinances to see what’s allowed and what isn’t. Talk to adjacent neighbors who might be affected by your decision, and see if you can compromise on any points of difference. One thing you should discuss is who will be responsible for maintaining what parts of the fence.
You might also wish to discuss splitting the cost of the fence if it turns out your neighbor is also interested in a fence. Fence installation prices can be steep, currently averaging $4,578. Fencing prices vary with material, paint, number of feet, number of fence posts and whether or not you hire someone to install the fence. Chain link and wood fences are cheapest, while vinyl and aluminum fences are more expensive.
Redesigning your driveway is another improvement that can help relations with your neighbors. Disputes can emerge over parking if there’s not much room to park on your street and you or your guests end up parking in front of your neighbor’s house. Redesigning your driveway so that it’s easier to park off the street can solve this problem.
Installing a new driveway costs an average of $4,007 nationally, which varies by location. Costs also vary with type of material, with asphalt costing less than concrete. Other options include gravel, driveway pavers, brick and cobblestone. Size, shape and terrain can also affect costs. Average costs range from $1,000 on the low end to $9,950 on the high end.
Soundproofing is another potential fix for neighbor disputes. If you or your neighbors like to play loud music, or if one of you have loud kids or use loud machinery, disputes over noise can arise; soundproofing can help you avoid these types of disputes.
It costs an average of $1,648 to soundproof a room, with costs ranging from $1,032 to $2,524. Factors that can impact cost include room size, materials and project complexity.
Peace Is Priceless
Installing a fence, redesigning your driveway and soundproofing are three home additions that can make it easier for you to get along with your neighbors. While these improvements require some investment, the value of peace with your neighbors and peace of mind can be priceless.