When moving to a new neighborhood, there are so many changes. A new home, new commutes, new areas to explore. Everyone wants their homebase to be their sanctuary where we connect with the people around
- As human beings, our hearts and minds will always appreciate the face-to-face contact of becoming friends. We must take advantage of moments where that personal touch is refreshing. The perfect opportunity to do so is when we’re welcoming new neighbors into our community.
Aside from the fun reception we’re bound to find in meeting new people, it’s especially important to familiarize ourselves with our neighbors for a sense of security. Knowing who lives in our vicinity, developing bonds with the people surrounding our home, will give us a sense of confidence when we’re away and promotes an awareness in the neighborhood. That reassuring feeling of the “communal village” is irreplaceable.
So how do we make the initial connection?
- The Welcome. When new neighbors move in, in times of yore, it was customary for the housewives of the community to present them with pies and welcome committee-esque baskets. We don’t live in that time anymore, but gifts are always a kind thought.
- A dessert or other food items are terrific (a special family recipe perhaps? Great to get a conversation going!), but keep in mind allergies and tastes of the newcomers. A sample of small food items, individually wrapped is another gesture sure to be appreciated so the new neighbors can pick and choose what is suitable for their dietary needs.
- If cooking/baking isn’t your specialty, a friendly note is a great idea to convey a greeting. Many neighborhoods exist in a homeowners’ association (HOA), and putting pertinent contact information, meeting times, neighborhood watch info, and upcoming activities is a surefire way to include your new neighbors in the community’s events. Include information like names and numbers for local business and restaurants, or takeout menus for delivery. Those first few move-in weeks are tough; pizza or Chinese takeaways may be just what’s needed.
- And if we dare think outside the box by providing an unconventional gift of items such as plants/seeds, cleaning items, or a piece of art, we’re bound to strike up a conversation to get to know the new neighbors. Hobbies, interests, and pursuits can be discussed along with the traditional small talk.
- The Followup. After the initial introduction, it’s always helpful to reach out to see if new neighbors need anything else from their new community. Sometimes we all need a little reminder that our village wants our participation.
- A neighborhood block party is a great way to include the whole community in a meet and greet and touch base with established homeowners. This is also an alternative way to welcome new neighbors without a one-on-one approach. A party is a fantastic way to mingle and get a little taste of all the new neighbors in a comfortable, relaxed setting. Some neighbors are uncomfortable accepting gifts; allowing them a chance to participate in a party with a potluck feel where they can bring a dish or a bottle of wine triggers a familial response that anyone can enjoy.
- Including new neighbors in any social media community groups is another terrific way to welcome them. No one wants to be overwhelmed with social reminders, but an email newsletter list, a Nextdoor.com, or neighborhood Facebook group can be a helpful way of alerting the neighbors to upcoming events or information changes.
The reminder of “too much social media” brings us to the last point…
- The people moving into our community are most likely going to be around for a long time. Getting off on the right foot is a must. Moving can be stressful: it’s long, physically exhausting days juggling work, childcare, and dealing with possible financial issues. Giving our new community members a chance to get settled before a meet-and-greet is just common sense. And after the initial welcome, keep in mind how often we interact. Some people are more private than others. The occasional check-in is appreciated, but the everyday occurrence is going to get tedious. There’s a fine line between making neighbors feel wanted, and being pushy and meddling.
Moving into an unfamiliar neighborhood has all the advantages of meeting new people, being part of a fresh community, and reinstating that human bond we’re looking for in this lifetime. Sometimes the idea of giving a gift or even leaving a note can be too much. One of the most neighborly acts we can perform is a simple wave while driving by, or a “good morning” as we both head out to pick up the Sunday paper. Just being kind and courteous to new neighbors will go a long way. And when in doubt, everyone benefits from a friendly smile.
Marissa Bishop is the team founder of Bishop Country. Bishop Country is an expert in the North Texas area and specializes in listing homes and properties on the east side of 75, from Firewheel to Fairview. As a leader in the hospitality field, Marissa values relationships. It is very important to her to always make others feel special and to treat everyone with respect and kindness. Marissa currently ranks high in the top 5% of all agents in North Texas and is a Top Producer at RE/MAX Town and Country 2014, 2015, 2016. Her firm has been recognized by Real Trends in America’s Best Real Estate Agents and has over 500 homes sold.