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How to Welcome New Neighbors

When new neighbors move in, it’s a good idea to welcome them.

First, it breaks the ice. If you see them at a community event or a neighborhood restaurant, you’ll be able to say hello rather than simply have a vague idea they live near you.

Second, it increases neighborhood safety and cohesion. The more neighbors you know, the better you’ll be recognizing genuine strangers in the neighborhood.

Third, it’s neighborly! Life-long friendships can be established on mutual interests, but you won’t know what they are until you meet. If you each have children, that’s a great common ground, so is liking to garden or surf.

But how can you welcome them? The idea of a formal Welcome Wagon, where a neighbor stops by with local goods and treats, is in decline. Many people aren’t home during the day for one thing. Some might see the visit as intrusive as it implies access to the home some might not be comfortable with.

Here are seven methods to break the ice in a neighborly way:

1. Introduce yourself shortly after they move in. A few days after you’ve seen the moving van, ring the bell. Many people like to know their neighbors. This can be coupled with bringing them a small house-warming gift. The key is to keep it low key and obligation free. Chat for a short time. If it seems like you have a lot in common and are hitting it off, suggest a coffee or lunch date. If you don’t get a feeling they want more of a relationship than waving, at least you know their names.

2. Throw a neighborhood party. You can throw a neighborhood party and invite the new neighbors. If your neighborhood is mostly families with children, include the kids of course. It’s a great way for everyone to get to know each other. Keep the party informal and, if it has a theme, make it on food or a holiday, not on meeting new neighbors.

3. Garden in your yard or in community gardens. If you’re an avid gardener, garden as you normally do. If you see your new neighbors in their front or back yards, great. Give a shout.

4. Utilize neighborhood parks. Whether you walk your dog or play softball in the local park, look out for the new neighbors and chat when you see them. Pets and sports are both potential common ground. You might find your new neighbor is a soccer fan and end up discussing the latest World Cup all afternoon.

5. Have a yard sale. Nothing attracts people like yard sales. If your new neighbors are yard sale buffs, they’ll show up and you’ll meet automatically.

6. Volunteer for a neighborhood organization. Whether it’s PTA for the local elementary school or a walk-a-thon centered in your neighborhood, volunteering means you’ll meet new neighbors whose activities overlap with yours.

7. Start a lending library. A lending library is something like a yard sale, only it’s about media and items are lent rather than sold. Round up your old books, but don’t stop there. Include DVDs and CDs. Advertise with brochures and word of mouth. Be sure to keep a list of who borrowed what. You will get to know who is interested in Agatha Christie, Orange Is the New Black and Nicki Minaj. Interests, anyone?

Are you looking for a new home in Orange County, Long Beach or the Los Angeles metro area? Brandywine Homes is opening six new communities this year offering a combined 265 single-family homes and townhomes. If you would like more information, sign up for our interest list here.