Keeping up with the Joneses has become a derogatory term for those that feel like they need to one-up their neighbor, but what about the neighbor that just doesn’t care? Nothing can be more frustrating than having a neighbor whose lawn and house looks like the abandoned house in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Even on a street with pristine homes and kept lawns, one house that isn’t up to snuff will cause property value to plummet.
Before we dive into the ways we can deal with our unmotivated neighbor, make sure there aren’t external factors at play. Ask yourself a few questions. How well do you know the neighbor? Do they have a history of illness? What is their age? Are they dealing with financial issues? There could be several reasons they have let their home and yard deteriorate. Once these possibilities are eliminated then you can approach this list. So without further ado, here are a few things you might be able to do to encourage “that” neighbor to improve their home appeal.
I know, this is the least attractive way to solve a problem in today’s society. In reality, this is the best way to approach any problem. Having a civil conversation has solved many problems for thousands of years. Most people will appreciate a straight forward approach and the honesty that this method brings. Now, of course, a lot of the appreciation is going to come from the way you approach them. If you are somewhat friendly with them, ask questions that are pertinent. This is a good way to eliminate those external factors. If you don’t know them all that well, then this is an excellent opportunity to show yourself friendly. Take your neighbor a plate of baked goods, some extra produce from your garden or an invitation to a cookout. Once you’re on good terms with your neighbor, you’ve established the foundation from which you can ask him to address the problem.
This was probably the last answer you wanted to hear, but it will almost surely solve your problem. As I mentioned, there might be factors that are preventing them from doing what they would like to do. Maybe it’s time or illness and if they had just a little help, it would make all the difference. Offering to help doesn’t always mean you have to do the work. Look for a charity or business that is looking to help. Offer to babysit or entertain their children while they take care of the cleaning. Rally other neighbors in this cause. This could really make a difference in your neighborhood and in particular the life of your neighbor.
Make Your Own Home Sparkle
Maybe you think your house looks fine, and chances are it does, but curb appeal can be contagious. Take a step back and look at what your home might need. Instead of scheduling landscaping and pressure washing weeks apart, schedule them closer together so that the branded vehicles are constantly seen. You can also show off before and after photos to your neighbor. You could also offer them a business’s card or coupon. By leading as an example, you are establishing that you care for your home. Through guilt, pride, jealousy, or some combination of emotions, they might be reminded to care for their own home. After all, no one really wants to have the worst looking home on the block.
Notify The HOA
I realize this might not be an option for everyone, but if all else fails this should work. If you live in a community with a homeowners’ association, let them know. I understand that it can feel petty, but if you’ve exhausted all other options, this might be the only thing that will motivate your neighbor. HOAs exist for a reason. One of the main reasons is to prevent your neighborhood from losing value. They should send a letter warning the homeowner that if they don’t fix the problem they will receive a fine. You won’t be named and at the very least you will know you’ve tried everything.
There is nothing wrong with taking pride in your home and yard. Your house is your biggest investment and making sure it’s value continues to rise should be a priority. For the few who have lost the desire or don’t have the means to keep their homes looking great, maybe you can be the difference maker.