Welcome to the neighborhood! You've just made a big move, and now you may be trying to figure out the lay of the land. So, how can you become a part of your new community?
The first order of business is to have an open mind. Your new neighborhood and even Homeowner's Association may function very differently from what you're used to. There may be new cultures, new rules, and (hopefully not) new cliques. By being open to new situations you may find yourself more able and willing to make new acquaintances.
This is not a time to be a recluse. Venture out on strolls through your neighborhood or take your dog on walks. Spend time in your yard, accept invitations to parties and events, and take opportunities to volunteer. As you meet members of your new community, you will surely find those you like ... and those you don't. But you'll never know if you don't put yourself out there.
A few great places to meet your neighbors are through the PTA, local HOA meetings, and community events, such as festivals, carnivals, and theater events.
Above all, being a part of your community means being a good neighbor yourself. Be sure to help your neighbors when they are in need. This can be as simple as helping change a tire, lending a tool, or bringing over food and flowers after a funeral.
Be willing to compromise during disagreements. You may want to cut down the tree that shades your garden, while your neighbor wants to keep that same tree that they planted 20 years ago with their children. Don't let anger get the better of you. Having neighbors means that you share property lines, streets, and communities.
And finally, a good neighbor is also on the watch. A good rapport with your neighbors can mean you watch their place, and they watch yours when you're out of town. That's a pretty good trade-off!
Above all, now is the time to be open and adventurous. Try new things, take up new hobbies, and find out how you can fit into your new community.
Carla Hill Realty Times December 1, 2010