Urban Home Renovation, Pt 1: Get To Know Your Neighbors

Projected trends on a global scale indicate that more and more people are moving into cities, many of them refurbishing older urban homes once they’ve done so. This has implications in all kinds of areas; social dynamics with neighbors (who live closer, and often share walls), energy efficiency and sustainability issues, new design possibilities, and many others.

To help address this trend, and these implications, guest writer Samantha Peters is here, in the first of a series of posts, to talk about that first aspect of moving to and engaging in an urban home renovation; meeting, and managing relationships with neighbors for the benefit of a better community.



Purchasing a home within city limits has become incredibly popular in recent years.  Cities not only provide excellent cultural experiences and easy access to museums, fine dining, and entertainment, but they also allow individuals to get around without the need of a car.  Older homes in cities also tend to have great character and history behind them which also make them appealing.

Over the next couple of posts, we will be discussing the ins and outs of buying an urban home with the intention of rehabbing it. While 90% of the process is the same as buying an older property in any environment, there are particular aspects of bringing an urban home back to life that ought to be addressed before you decide to move forward. At the top of the list is the importance of getting to know your new city neighbors, for the sake of safety, security, and avoiding conflict.

For insight

Prior to purchasing a urban home, speak with your prospective neighbors.  While those living in cities tend to me more self-reliant, they will be just as eager as you to know who they may potentially be living next to.  By getting to know your neighbors you will be able to gain great insight on your prospective community.

You will get to know which stores are convenient, which schools in the area are good, and just what to expect from your daily commute.  While the home itself is important, knowing the area in which your future home is located should also be a highly important deciding factor as it will add to your overall living experience.

 For community security

Just because you met your neighbors prior to purchasing your home, doens’t mean you should stop building a neighborly relationship with them.  Once you purchase your home, be sure to continue to chat it up with your neighbors.  Not only will you continue to benefit from their insight, but you will also be building a stronger sense of community while interacting on a regular basis which translates in to greater safety for you and your home.

Neighbors are going to know the truth about the potential threats in your particular part of the city.  While a security system can keep your home safe and under close watch, neighborhood watches and strong community ties are what keep most neighborhoods secure.  Make it clear to your neighbor that you’ll keep an eye out on their property so long as the gesture is mutual. This is what neighbors are for, after all, and many have no problem being vigilant city residents.

For good advice

Chances are your neighbor’s old city home is similar to your own. Their experience in dealing with the wear and tear as well as the particular ins and outs of the architecture and engineering can prove invaluable to you when in the middle of a an urban home renovation. In fact, many of the improvements you plan to make they may have already done themselves. Getting some free neighborly advice on how to fix up your urban home sure beats paying someone to give you the same information.

They will also be able to tell you specific problems they tend to have with the topography of the area.  Does run-off after a hard rain pour into their basement?  Do their backyards turn in to swamps every Spring?  Answers to these questions will allow you to know which types of renovations you should plan for, as well as any preventional action you need to take.

For neighborly courtesy

Speaking with your neighbors and letting them in on your  plans for improvements or adjustment outdoors can help to ease tensions while the work is being done. Contractors, even painters, can be loud and seem intrusive to your neighbors – especially because of the closer proximity of homes in cities.

Always alert your neighbors prior to any renovations, especially those that will be occurring before or after normal daylight hours.  No one wants to wake up to loud hammering at 7AM on a Saturday, and it’s definitely not a good way to maintain your welcome in the neighborhood.  Even if you have a security technician or electrical engineer scheduled to get the lay of your property, take the time to explain to your neighbor what is going on. It’s about courtesy.

When living in the city, getting to know your neighbors is essential. When you don’t, it reduces your level of safety, diminishes security, and increases the chances of unresolvable conflict down the road. With all the hassles inherent with bringing an urban home back to life, who needs such stress when removing it is as easy as being a good neighbor?


Thanks, Sam!

This Guest Post is the first in a series on Urban Home Renovation by Samantha Peters.  Sam wants to let home owners interested in home security know about the award winning Vivint security solutions that are available.  For more information can be found by reading Vivint reviews.





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