According to a report by realtor.com, 75% of people believe they have good neighbors. The report is based on a survey of more than 1,000 respondents in the US. All the demographic groups surveyed agreed that the perfect neighbor is trustworthy, respectful, friendly, and quiet. A small number of participants said it was important to maintain a close friendship with neighbors.
Generally, people feel and think positively of their neighbors, even though some focus on what annoys them. Reliability and trust play an integral part in making a neighborhood feel like ‘home.’
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Best qualities of a neighbor: trustworthy and quiet
The majority of respondents (59 percent) agreed that trustworthiness is a neighbor’s most important quality. Half of the respondents said being quiet was important, ahead of being friendly (46 percent). Women, in particular, found ‘trustworthy’ to be a must-have trait, as did people over 35.
What does being trustworthy mean, and can you ever be sure a neighbor is trustworthy? No, but certain tools can help you get more information about them. You can use a background check site to see what you can find out about someone, so you know if you can rely on them or if they are best avoided. Many of these sites are affordable or even free to use and can provide valuable information about a neighbor. Since you already have their address and probably their first and last name, you’ll get surprisingly many details.
Gen Z and millennial respondents and people 55 and over cared most about their neighbors being friendly. Being close friends with a neighbor was the least important aspect for all groups. A fifth of male respondents and 9 percent of female respondents said close friendship was a must.
Around 20% of participants told the survey team they didn’t know if their neighbor was good. At 21%, 18- to 34-year-olds had the most unsure responses, compared to 13 percent of 55+ and 17 percent of 35 to 54-year-olds. All generations concurred that being able to trust your neighbor was of paramount importance.
Definition of a nightmare neighbor
At the other end of the scale, the worst behavior trait a neighbor could have was disrespecting property. More than two-thirds of respondents pointed to this trait as the least desirable. Being messy, loud, or unfriendly also ranked among the most negative traits. 60% of those surveyed said being loud was the worst trait. Untrustworthiness came in at third place with just over 50 percent.
Other studies have ranked neighbors in order of annoyance. They have established three levels: slightly, moderately, and extremely annoying.
Inadequate drivers, irresponsible pet owners, parents of badly-behaved children who cry or scream all day long, overly friendly and communicative people, and chronic borrowers.
Party animals, musicians who practice at home or in the garage, and gossipers who spread rumors about anyone and everyone in the neighborhood.
Sneaky thieves, people with compulsive hoarding disorder, and criminals doing business in plain view.
If you have a neighbor who’s extremely annoying but not threatening, you can gather evidence and contact the police or a lawyer. You can also sign a joint petition with other neighbors. It helps to have it signed by as many people as possible. State the concrete problem and what you want to be done about it, and present the petition to the HOA or your landlord. The problem will be resolved if your complaint is legitimate.
Welcoming new neighbors
Welcoming new neighbors can put you on good terms from the start. The study cited at the beginning showed people don’t always welcome new neighbors the way they themselves would like to be treated in a new neighborhood.
Around two-thirds of respondents said they preferred a simple introduction as the welcoming method. Fewer than half said their neighbors dropped by for a short greeting, and just under 40 percent said they were never welcomed.
It’s not always easy to determine if a neighbor is good or bad. A more reliable system would differentiate neighbors based on risks and rewards:
- Friendly or contentious
- Observant or oblivious
- Predictable or unpredictable
- Long time trusted neighbor or the new kid on the block
- A good communicator or a poor listener
- Low stress and drama-free or tense and agitated
The best way to predict how a neighbor will treat you in the future is if you share a history with them. A close neighbor who has nothing to lose can be very dangerous. If someone experiences a dramatic life event like severe illness or a job loss that leaves them with limited choices, they can make a wrong decision that impacts the entire neighborhood.