When you moved into your current home, you may have made the decision based on the good location, the condition of the home, or a price that fit your budget. These three things sound like they have a good chance of ensuring the happiness and safety of you and your family, but one factor that may be hard to determine before moving in is: will you have problem neighbors? Even if you did make an effort to meet the neighbors before you moved in, neighborhoods change all the time and there is no way to ensure you won’t wind up living next to a problematic tenant or homeowner down the road.
Your relationship with your neighbors may affect you more than you think. A recent study published in the Urban Affairs Review aimed to find what influenced neighborhood satisfaction, and one factor in particular rose to the surface. The researchers discovered that a feeling of connectedness was the best predictor of happiness—so those that lived in a neighborhood that facilitates human social connections and relationships were happier than those with little (or negative) interaction with neighbors.
Of course it doesn’t make sense to look for a new home every time you have an uncomfortable interaction with a neighbor, and most disagreements can be dealt with through respectful and honest communication. Even if an issue does escalate, good record keeping and local law enforcement can help solve most serious problems. If you have tried to resolve issues with neighbors but you don’t feel like your relationship (and quality of life) has improved, it may be time to move.
HERE ARE THREE SIGNS IT IS TIME TO MOVE TO A NEW NEIGHBORHOOD:
1. Your Neighbor May be Dangerous
Obviously, if you have any serious reason to believe that your neighbor is a danger to you or anyone else, you will notify the authorities. Sometimes however, your fear of a neighbor may be due to other subtle clues and not necessarily a red flag that would warrant a call to the police. Either way, if you don’t feel safe in your neighborhood, start looking for another place for you and your family to call home.
2. The Stress is Affecting Your Health
Even if the issues with your neighbor are not putting you in any immediate physical danger, the stress that it causes you and your family can easily affect your health indirectly.
Everyone is familiar with the physical effects of stress—your heart pounds during a scary movie or you get butterflies speaking to a crowd. More intense stressful situations cause stronger reactions. Multiple studies have shows that sudden emotional stresses (especially anger) can trigger heart attacks, arrhythmias, and even sudden death. When stress is prolonged by dealing with bad neighbors, the health effects can become much more serious. Prolonged stress is hard on your body and mind, causing side affects like fatigue, inability to concentrate, irritability, worsening heart conditions, and depression.
3. Your Home is Being Devalued
Another good reason to consider a move is changing home values. If you have a neighbor or multiple neighbors who are starting to neglect the homes they live in and are making the neighborhood less visually appealing to passersby, you can be sure home values will drop with time. This is more of a concern for you if you own the home you currently live in—nobody wants an investment to drop in value, especially not a home where the financial stakes can be quite high.
If any of these circumstances sound familiar, it may be time to plan a move.