If you live in a townhome or duplex, you likely have neighbors in close proximity. Think of this as an opportunity to foster a great neighborly relationship with new friends, rather than an invasion of your privacy. There are some ways to make the most of your space, without stepping on your neighbor's toes, and to preserve your own privacy, as well.
Be the neighbor that you want to have living next-door:
Make friends first. If you are moving into a new place, making friends with the neighbors is an excellent first-step. If you simply don't have anything in common with the folks next door, then try to be the neighbor that you would want to have. Be courteous, respectful, and communicative.
Try to talk it out. Try to address potential problems with neighbors before you go and lodge a complaint with the site manager. Often times, neighbors are unaware that their behaviors, actions, or lifestyle are impacting you, so let them know if it bothers you. Try to come to a peaceful resolution without involving the site's management.
Make use of the amenities. Hanging out at the pool, gym, or other on-site amenities will familiarize you with your new neighbors. Since you are probably paying HOA fees, go ahead and use the facilities and get your money's worth. This is a great ice-breaker when you move somewhere new.
Turn out the lights. When a dispute occurs between neighbors, it often is over something small that perpetuates over time. A prime example of this is disturbing someone's sleep; make an effort not to disturb your neighbors' sleep with things like noise, company, or security lights, which can shine into a neighbor's home unbeknownst to you. Take care to adjust any security lighting fixtures so that they shine away from your neighbor's windows.
Create a community garden. Green-space may be limited in your new place, but don't give up dreams of having a beautiful garden. Talk with neighbors about creating a community garden, or combining resources to form a farm-share type situation. This entails each member plant one distinct crop, which is shared with all of the members of the community at harvest time.
Ask about an end-unit. If given the option, choose an end-unit for more privacy when moving in to a townhouse or duplex. This will give you more privacy, fewer neighbors, and even more land in some instances.
There are many perks to living in a townhouse, so don't let difficulty with a neighbor spoil the experience. Use these tips to create a friendly, cooperative community, and to build a positive rapport with your neighbors. Talk with realtors about townhome builders on the market, and ask about the amenities, potential for green-space, and the chance of securing an end-unit to ensure you are happy in your new home.