Lend a Helping Hand

When you live in a neighborhood, the value of your home is affected by the homes around you. If you take great care of your yard, but your neighbor has a yard full of weeds, this reflects badly on your home too. Although most of us complain about them, this is why homeowners associations exist in many neighborhoods. However, with a tight economy, many homeowners are overwhelmed and don’t have time or money to invest in their homes, and many of the homeowners associations are crumbling with high foreclosure rates and homeowners unable to pay dues. I do not suggest taking everyone’s problems on your shoulders, but if you have some extra time or money, why not lend a helping hand to a neighbor?

Our Neighbor

We have an elderly neighbor who lives on a fixed income. She can’t physically do the yard work herself, and with such a tight budget, she can’t afford to hire someone else. We have always had a great relationship with this neighbor, and we try to help her out whenever we can. Most of it is us trying to be good neighbors, but we also get some benefit out of helping her (including a dog sitter). Below are some examples of what we have done to help her out and why being a good neighbor is just a good thing to be.

#1 – Golf Net

Our neighbor’s house has had several windows broken from bad golfers, and her previous net had completely fallen over and was fully gone when she moved in. She was in desperate need of a new net, but couldn’t afford the quotes she was getting. We also wanted her to put up a net, because her lack of a net left part of our yard exposed to stray balls. As we were designing our net we had 2 options for fully protecting our yard. The first was to put a net up between the two yards, or we could help her out and extend our net across her yard. Either way labor was the same, but the 2nd option helped her out, looked nicer, and she was able to pay for the materials used on her part of the net, which saved us money from the first option. We also knew she would eventually put up a net and that we would have to look at whatever got put up. By building her net with ours, the two nets have a seamless clean look, and we don’t have to worry about a potential eyesore.

our net and our neighbor's net

#2 – Fence Extension

In our neighborhood, to keep an open golf course feel, homes that back up to the golf course are not allowed to have solid fences, although there are some grey lines about where the solid to open fence transition can occur. When we moved in, the fence between our neighbor and us was completely open, leaving our porches to face each other. As I said earlier, we get along great with our neighbor, but we also wanted some privacy when sitting outside. Our neighbor also wanted a solid fence between the yards, but once again, didn’t have much money or the ability to do it herself. Extending the fence was fairly inexpensive, so we picked up most of the cost and built the extension ourselves. Adding this fence helped both properties with privacy, and will also add to both home values for the same reason.

Extended fence between our house and our neighbor's house (this was all open fence before)

#3 – Front Lawn

With the lawns side by side, if our neighbor’s lawn is brown, ours doesn’t do any good being green except to increase our water bill. In general, we have always tried to mow our neighbor’s lawn when we mowed our own, because once the lawn mower is out it only takes an extra 5 minutes to do hers too. This year though, her irrigation system had a leak, and she turned off the sprinklers because she didn’t know what to do. This left her lawn near dead, so with our knowledge of irrigation systems, we fixed the leak and got her system running properly again. After thatching and reseeding the lawn for her, the front yard is turning green once again, and we no longer see a large brown patch when looking out front.

If you see a neighbor who needs a little help and if you have the means, why not give a little? Even something as simple as pulling a few weeds can really help someone or give them the motivation to continue. Helping your neighbors can improve the value of your home and give you a great neighbor relationship you wouldn’t have otherwise had. In our case, we now have a dog sitter every time we leave town, which would normally cost us a pretty penny. I encourage you to help out a neighbor in need, and please share your thoughts or stories in the comment section below.

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