We moved into our new house — proud first-time home-owners — a few years ago. I know my neighbors (now!) and they are good people, although of an older generation. A confession from one of them, a few years later, really surprised me, and I thought it deserves sharing. It concerned a tiny detail I had actually forgotten, until my neighbor reminded me of it…
When we moved in, my friend’s mom, who has an enormously amazing garden, kindly gave us four flower-boxes as a house-warming gift.
In the midst of moving, and un-packing and re-organizing our lives, I didn’t think much of it. I hung them from the balcony rails and tried to remember to water them. (I am a horrible gardener, but I figured; I have them, might as well try!)
Without my knowing, those straggly flowers paved the way to good neighbor relations.
See, we didn’t know my new house had previously been rented. To despicable tenants. The kind where drugs, vandalism, and 2am police visits are the norm. They created havoc in a calm neighborhood, and were eventually evicted by court-order. The experience was so horrifying to the home-owner she immediately put the house for sale, rather than risk renting it again. This also explains why we got it so cheap, as she was in a hurry to get rid of it, and to forget a year-long battle with the tenants-from-hell.
My (now) friendly neighbor admitted that the whole street was collectively preparing a “no-nonsense” stance against the new guys moving in (us!). And they were understandably on the defensive seeing another young, possibly wild and disruptive, couple arrive.
Those four plastic containers of colorful blooms apparently put everyone at ease. They gave off a friendly, “we care” vibe that allowed the neighbors to give us a chance.
So if you’re moving somewhere new, I recommend adding a few flowers to the outside of your house. Just a hanging flowerpot or a flower box, like we (not purposely) installed, is reassuring and welcoming to those watching anxiously through their blinds. It really IS the little details that have the biggest impact.
A good first impression just might facilitate your integration into your new neighborhood!