NAR Dashboard


Our Mission.

You care about your home. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® cares about homeownership. To help you become the best, most responsible homeowner you aspire to be, we want to provide you with free information and tools you can use to make smart and timely decisions about your home.

From time to time, we may reach out to you to help us support legislation and/or policies that may have an impact on you, the homeowner. You can choose to join our cause. Or you can choose not to. Regardless, your privacy is safe with us.

We'll never share or sell your email address or other personal information you may provide us in the course of using the site with anyone without your explicit consent.

Are Your Neighbors Friend or Foe?

Neighbors wage war every day over blocked views, loud noise, big and small annoyances. Do you have a good neighbor policy? How’s it working out?

Added to Binder
Houses in a neighborhood

If you live in a neighborhood, you'll have to interact with your neighbors at some point. How do you keep the peace? Image: JJRD/iStockphoto

File this under No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: A Buffalo home owner sued her neighbors for cleaning up her littered patio without her permission. She said they trespassed and discriminated against her. A federal judge disagreed, and forced her to pay $107,000 in attorney fees.

Think I’ll skip that neighborhood’s next block party.

I’ve been a home owner for 27 years and can think of no greater hell than waging war with neighbors. The idea of scurrying to collect my mail so I’ll avoid an angry couple next door makes me want to down a Xanax.

So what do I do? I usually bend over backwards to keep the peace.

Once, I hacked off the tops of my sunflowers because my neighbor complained they blocked the sun from shining on her tomatoes.

For the past two summers, I’ve allowed a twangy lute to drown out summer crickets because another neighbor adds a mid-eastern soundtrack to his nightly pool parties.

And I let it go when the couple across the street snuck into my yard and pruned my willow because they thought it blocked traffic sight lines around the corner.

But I may be in the minority. These days, it seems like neighbor feuds are the rule, not the exception.

  • Former Seattle Mariners first basemen John Olerud finally won a long, unhappy battle with the minister next door to remove a Chinese pine that obstructed Olerud’s lake and mountain views. The neighbors had been great friends, and it seems a crying shame they let a pine tree rip them apart.
  • Sick of escalating fights over loud reggae music, a Tampa judge sentenced two feuding neighbors to monthly potluck dinners together. Maybe breaking bread will stop the fights: If it were me, I’d bring a taste tester before I bit into the tuna casserole.
  • Neighbors complained when a “starving artist” in East Hampton, N.Y., invited any and all to throw a pint of paint on his house. The artist wanted a free paint job: What he got was angry neighbors worried about property values.

Can’t we all just get along, or at least get some perspective?

I’m not saying hack off sunflowers to avoid a fight — that just worked for me, and my flower-loving neighbor felt guilty for years. But some honest communication, or perhaps a little mediation, could keep your front yard from becoming a battleground.

Have you ever confronted a neighbor? How’d it turn out?

lisa-kaplan-gordon Lisa Kaplan Gordon

is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL. Follow Lisa on Google+.

Track Your Progress

Added to Binder