Don’t Forget The Neighbours

There are many things to consider when buying a new home – proximity to the shops, for example, or whether your new area qualifies for high-speed broadband. But the Human element of relocating is often, surprisingly, overlooked. Good neighbours can have a profound impact on the quality of life in your new home. Bad neighbours even more so.

Love Thy Neighbour?

A study by the charity ‘Kindness UK’, published in November 2011, revealed that a staggering 70% of all British people do not know the names of the people who lived next door. Furthermore, less than half of the people who responded to the survey said they would ever ask a neighbour for help.

This is a far cry from the quintessential British archetype of the neighbour popping round for a cup of tea one afternoon or asking to borrow the lawnmower. It is widely accepted that British society in the twenty-first century lacks much of the community spirit that was such a prominent national characteristic of times gone by. With this in mind, why should the quality of the neighbourhood and those who reside there have a bearing on your decision-making process when choosing a new home?

Community Perks

Bournemouth-based property consultants ‘House & Son’ reckon that buyers are willing to pay up to 7% more – that’s around £15,000 on top of the average price of a new home – to live in a community with neighbours they can trust. Homes in ‘good’ neighbourhoods hold their value more robustly than those in less desirable areas because a strong community gives added value that never diminishes, making it a sound investment if you are considering a future sale of the property.

There are other benefits to living in a close-knit community. People who maintain close relationships with their neighbours can pool resources such as tools, or even contacts – for example, being able to recommend a good workman or babysitter at short notice could be invaluable. Those who operate an effective ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ initiative are statistically less likely to be victims of household crimes such as burglary.

Also, it should not go without mention that good neighbours – who may greet you with a smile one morning and are always respectful of your privacy – are a luxury that few are privy to and should not be taken for granted. Human beings are social creatures, and the sense of belonging that is derived from living in a community where everyone cares for one another is something that will improve the quality of life in your new home.

However – A Caveat

Last year, more than quarter of a million people who moved house cited poor relations with their neighbours as one of the driving factors behind their decision to relocate. Neighbours who are noisy, or inconsiderate with their use of parking spaces, for example, can make you feel inconvenienced in your own house. ‘Bad neighbours’ generally lack consideration for the neighbourhood in which they live, and if there is little community cohesion in the area then this behaviour could be endemic.

It is therefore worth doing your research into the nature of a community before deciding whether you wish to become a part of it.

By Brandon Barnes for London based buying agent Rhodium