Home renovations in your neighborhood can increase property values and make the area a more desirable place to live. However, these benefits don’t come about until the project is finished, and you may face some serious disturbances in the interim. If your neighbor is planning a home renovation, it’s important to plan and act wisely to help the project go as smoothly as possible.
Approach With Care
It’s best to approach a neighbor’s renovation project with a friendly attitude and open lines of communication. Suggest a preconstruction survey of your property to protect everyone’s interests. The stress of a renovation can cause you to notice cracks and other issues suddenly, though they may have been there before the project began. A survey of your home will give you the protection you need to seek reimbursement if there is damage while protecting the renovator from mistakenly false claims.
Cover Your Bases
Though you may not realize it, construction on your neighbor’s property could have a widespread effect on the state and safety of your own home. This is particularly true if your neighbor is expanding the home below the ground level. Any projects that require digging will cause the ground surrounding the home to shift and settle. This may cause your house to settle unevenly, resulting in cracks, out-of-square windows and doors, and reduced structural integrity.
If your neighbor’s building is undergoing renovations that have the potential to damage your home, ask him or her to include your home on their insurance policy for the duration of the project. If you have an adjoining wall or your properties are particularly close, you may want to have your own architect inspect the renovation plans before construction begins to make sure that your home is safe.
Protect Your Belongings
Construction can cause dust, debris, and vibrations that may disrupt your property. Plan ahead and take action to protect your belongings. If you have pictures hanging on adjoining walls, remove them during the renovation. Take down pricey chandeliers or other hanging fixtures that may shake loose or sustain damage from vibration. If you have collectibles or other sensitive items, you may want to cover them or place them in collectible storage boxes to prevent damage from dirt and dust.
Know Your Rights
Get to know your local laws so you can protect your rights throughout the construction process. Determine where the boundary lines are for your property so there’s no gray area when it comes to keeping the construction debris and vehicles on the proper side. Check out local ordinances that may protect things like your view, and have this information ready as you’re discussing your neighbor’s renovation plans with him or her.
Your local area probably has ordinances and laws governing noise. Find out the details. They may specify the hours that your neighbor can do construction and how long he or she can sustain certain decibel levels. If the noise levels exceed these limits, you can contact the police and typically have them place a decibel meter on the property line to ensure that noise levels are within the limits set by local regulations.
Reduce the Noisiness
If your neighbor’s renovation project is within local guidelines but is still disrupting your daily routine, try to lessen the disruptions as much as possible. Use sound-canceling earbuds to control how much noise you hear. These especially come in handy if you want a peaceful nap or just need to block out the noise for some concentration time. If you have a vacation coming up, try to plan it to coincide with the worst of the construction.
Document Any Damage
If your home experiences any kind of damage during the renovation process, it’s crucial that you document this immediately. Take photos, note the date of the damage, and contact your neighbor as soon as possible. Foremost is making sure the damage doesn’t continue or recur. Beyond this, you’ll want to keep the necessary evidence to seek proper repairs and reimbursement later.
Home renovations can create a turbulent atmosphere in the neighborhood, but you can survive the storm with the right approach and a smart mindset.