Here’s the deal: you are not the only person involved in your home renovation. When you make a conscious decision to build a room addition or expand your current living space, you’re not the only one who’s going to witness the process from start to finish. If you live in a populated neighborhood, chances are your neighbors are going to witness the entire debacle, too.
But they probably won’t share your excitement.
If you want to avoid the palpable tension, annoyance, dirty looks, and incessant complaints from your neighbors that usually come with a home renovation, then we recommend following these five simple tips.
1. Inform Them in Advance
Most people like surprises, but the sound of drills and electric saws at 8 in the morning probably won’t be well received.
One of the best ways to ensure your neighbors come to hate you is by springing a full-scale home renovation on them without warning. Even if you mostly keep to yourself or you’re not very involved in your neighborhood, it’s polite to give everyone in the vicinity a quick heads-up—especially if you live in a neighborhood where the houses are very close to each other.
But what if you’re not going to be using a lot of tools and machinery, which means there won’t be much noise?
You should still try to inform everyone. Perhaps your team will be driving over in their own cars or vans, or there’ll be a number of supplies and materials brought over, which could cause a scene. What’s more, those on the renovation team—for all intents and purposes—are complete strangers. This is enough cause for alarm for paranoid parents. Put worried minds at ease by letting your neighbors know what’s up.
2. Create Power Tool Schedules and Stick to Them
And on the topic of drills and electric saws at 8 in the morning, we have to advise against that. We understand wanting to have an early start on renovations so that everyone stays on-track and on-schedule, but no one likes to get ready for work or school listening to the sound of power tools.
Work with your neighbors to figure out the best time to create a ruckus—and the best time to end it, too. 10am might be a better time to fire up that electric saw, when everyone’s more or less left for school or work. And when 4pm or 5pm rolls around, cut the drill and cease the hammering. People have had a long day at work; they want to relax, and the sound of rapid construction is no one’s cup of tea.
3. Introduce Them to Your Contractor/Home Renovation Team
Remember how we said your renovation team are essentially strangers? Further eliminate fear and paranoia by introducing your neighbors (or at least the ones that stop by) to your contractor and his crew. This will convey that you really are only operating under the best intentions, and it ensures everyone involved that you don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable.
And should your contractor and his team forget their noise level or their mess for a minute while you’re not home, your neighbors will feel better about approaching these people if they’ve already been introduced.
4. Keep the Surroundings Clean at All Times
Renovations tend to get chaotic—and more than a little messy. Whenever there are power tools or full-on construction involved, you can expect sawdust, wood chips, and residue to litter the area. What’s more, full-on construction work means materials and supplies in and around your home. Depending on the scale of your home renovation, you could have a lot of tools, machines, lumber, furniture, tiles, cords, etc. lying in your yard at any given time.
If this mess trickles out of your private property or into someone else’s property, you can bet there’ll be complaints. Nip it all in the bud before your neighbors get the chance to blow up by keeping your site clean at all times. Make sure you ask your contractor to do the same thing.
5. Obtain All Necessary Paperwork & Keep Them On-Hand
Just in case the situation spirals out of control and neighborly confrontations get a little uglier than they were supposed to, it’s best to have the law on your side.
Most professional contractors and design-build companies can help you obtain all the permits you need for your home renovation. Keep these somewhere safe, secure, and easily accessible. This way, if someone complains about the renovations and then threatens to call the cops and/or involve the law, you have the documents you need to assure them—and any officer they drag in—that everything you’re doing is perfectly legal and well within your rights.
Related Content: What Permits Do I Need For My Remodel?
In the end, It’s a matter of putting yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself; would I hate if this happened to me? If that happened to me, would I be furious? Life’s too short to waste on neighborly screaming matches. So just practice respect, responsibility, and the art of humility, and you should be all set for a peaceful home renovation.