Whether you’ve just moved into a new custom Florida home, or are in the process of doing so, assimilating into your new neighborhood should matter to you and yours.
Getting to know your neighbors, and perhaps making some new friends, can improve the quality of everyone’s community life. Kids grow up with their buddies down the street. Adults share advice, pizza, beverages and yard tools.
Involved — or least cognizant — neighbors can ensure the Homeowners Association works for, and benefits everyone (preferably without drama!).
There are lots of reasons to be a good new neighbor. Here are some helpful reminders.
Limit your noise
Loud pool parties with mind-bending sound systems won’t endear you to anyone for very long.
That’s only one example, but cranking up the chipper-shredder at 8 a.m., on Saturday, for instance, or tuning the engine on the vintage car you’re restoring in your garage — ALL DAY — are only the tip of the egrigious-noise iceberg.
The reverse is true, too. Sometimes a neighbor who seems to be constantly revving a lawn mower, actually is having trouble with it. Far better to go see if you can help, or offer your mower in the interim, than yell angrily over the fence and end up with more than a lawn to tend.
Be considerate with parking
Larger families with many drivers, teenage drivers, or a busy social calendar that attracts guests, must figure out where to park all those vehicles.
This may mean a larger lot and a three-or-four-car garage, or using a landscaped courtyard driveway that provides extra parking space in front or in back of your home.
It’s not just lots of vehicles that can irritate your neighbors. It’s that six vehicles parked three abreast, from your garage all the way to the street, can be a hazard if the people who live around you can’t see past the sheet-metal blockade when they back out of their driveways.
Never mind the eyesore factor.
They exist for a reason — to make community life easier and cohesive — and you’ll do well to learn about your new HOA and its covenants before you assume residence in your new Florida community.
You may not know you’re supposed to keep your recycling bin tucked in your garage when it’s not being used. Almost everyone trips over similar, simple oversights now and then. But if you know your HOA frowns on certain behaviors or conditions, avoid them.
Don’t install the giant bounce house for your kid’s sixth birthday party on your front lawn if HOA covenants clearly specify such rentals must go in the back yard.
Mind your manners
It’s true what Mom said. First impressions do make a difference!
Being mindful of your new HOA covenants, and making a cheerful attempt to meet and get along with your new neighbors, is the best way to get off to a good start in your new Florida community.
In Part II, we’ll discuss everyone’s best friends: pets.
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