Saturday, 19 February 2011
Neighbors, we have neighbors
Our application with the local council to have our house extended has been published for public scrutiny, and thus far it seems as if it did not receive any objections. Theoretically that means our home extension project will move one tiny step forward (that is, if anyone can tell how our local council works; my impression thus far is that they work as if it's some sort of a gentlemen's club).
The interesting thing I'd like to talk about in this post is the reaction we got from our immediate neighbors, that is the people living on either side of us. Both of them said they prefer to keep us as neighbors than to offer petty objections to our plans; one of them did not even bother to look at the plans after we told them the gist of things in two sentences and given their trust in us.
I have to say I was touched by this attitude. Even if it was not necessarily the result of altruism on their behalf, our neighbors gave us a vote of confidence. To be honest we took great care in our planning not to offend or intrude on our neighbors (in contrast to what we've seen elsewhere, e.g., the neighbour across the street that was discussed in the post here).
The point I am trying to make is simple: when you buy a house to live in you usually don't check on the neighbors you'd be living next to, mostly because it's not something that can easily be checked. However, the quality of your neighbors is of paramount significance: a bad neighbor, or even a mildly annoying neighbor, can utterly ruin the most wonderful of residences. So take that into account the next time you consider buying a house.
Another note of importance is the value of owner residences versus investment properties: one of the major reasons why our group of neighbors gets along so well with one another is that we're all the owners of the houses we live in, not some transient blip on the radar that is here today but gone tomorrow. So there's a note from me to the Australian government, who through multiple incarnations seems to always put the investor at the top of its agendas.