We all know that renovating can be one of the most stressful life events for homeowners, but many people don’t think about the stress it can cause neighbours.
Here we’ve listed some important things to consider when you are about to renovate.
Neighbours like to be kept in the loop
Whilst you may not have a close relationship with your neighbours or even know their names, it’s important to make contact before you commence renovations.
Your neighbours will be more tolerant of the inconvenience you are causing if there are no surprises.
Whilst most people do not want to go door-to-door knocking to chat with each and every neighbour, an easy way to communicate is by writing a friendly letter and dropping it in everyone’s letter box.
Include your mobile phone number, the start date and the expected finish date.
You could also say in the letter that your neighbours are welcome to send you their number, so that you can then text them updates about significant disruptions, such as restricted street access.
Not all your neighbours work business hours
Bear in mind that not all your neighbours are going to be out of their home during business hours. Irregular work hours are no longer unusual, and many people now work from home.
Other people home during the day include parents and young children, retirees, students, shift workers, carers and people who are unwell.
With this in mind, put yourself in their shoes and think about what would bother you about the renovations if you were at home during the day.
Because you won’t be at the house all the time, it is crucial to establish your expectations with the tradespeople before they commence and explain that you want to keep your neighbours happy.
Ask them to ensure they keep outdoor areas as clean as possible, ensure they don’t use inappropriate language, and to try to avoid making loud noise for extended periods of time.
Adhering to noise restrictions is vital and while most tradies will know the rules, its best to check beforehand to make sure everyone is on the same page.
If you are doing renovations yourself, check with your local council so you know the specific rules about time and decibel restrictions.
Offer your old furnishings to your neighbours
With low wage growth and the possibility of an interest rate rise this year, keeping a home running can be costly and not everyone can afford to buy new appliances and furnishings.
If you are installing a new kitchen, why not give away or sell appliances like your oven and dishwasher, or if your current kitchen is in great condition, you could sell the entire kitchen – including the kitchen sink!
Don’t underestimate what people will be interested in – the cliché ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ rings true.
A threadbare armchair might be an eyesore to you, but it could be a boon for a student in a share house or a thrifty amateur upholsterer.
With a smartphone, it’s so easy to take a few snaps and list your items for sale or for free in your local area on Gumtree or eBay.
Include a list of the items you are offloading in the letter that you drop in the mailboxes of your neighbours, and let them know where they can look up your online listings to view photos and specs.
You may be put off by the effort involved, but reducing landfill is a necessary and worthwhile task. And the brownie points you’ll score with your neighbours will be invaluable.
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