How to: Keep Your Neighbors Sane During Home Renovations

Posted: 1/24/2014

Dust, noise, toxic fumes...ah, the joys of home renovations! 

When you need to go through it, there's not much of an alternative but to make the best of it.  Next time you have work done in your home, keep in mind that there are a few things you can do to make it more pleasant for your neighbors:

  • Let your neighbors know in advance about your upcoming renovations. Share the scope of the project with them, the expected time frame and your contact information in case they experience any problems and need to reach you.
  • Try to know more about your neighbor's schedule and take it into consideration when setting a work schedule for your contractors. Do your neighbors have small children? Do they work at home? Also, let your neighbors know the contractor's schedule and encourage them to inform you if that schedule is not being followed.  
  • Bring a basket of baked goods or a bottle of wine as a peace offering before the construction starts. This can also go a long way after the project is complete, especially if you know it was an inconvenience to your neighbor.
  • Talk with your contractor and explain any restrictions. Put these in writing and incorporate them into the contract.  This will give you leverage and void the excuse of "I was not told."  Keep in mind that regardless of how the contractor performs, it is the homeowner's responsibility to rectify any issues that affect the neighbors. For example, if workers leave debris right in front of someone else's door, offer to sweep up the mess at the end of the day.
  • Make sure you check in with your neighbors throughout the process. By doing this, you can make amends before they have months to stew over something you weren't even aware of. This also gives you a chance to keep them posted on the progress and timeline of your project.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some of your neighbors might be easier to work with than others.  Make sure you make a concerted effort to communicate and keep things peaceful with all of them. This way, when the roles are reversed there's a good chance they will communicate and be considerate of you.