Home improvements make your home a better, more pleasant place to live as well as adding to its value. Then, surely, home improvements must be a good thing, right? Generally speaking, yes. There are, however, some home improvements that could turn your neighbors into your enemies in Western Massachusetts.
1. Fixing Drainage Problems
There’s a big low spot in your backyard where during wet periods water stands, making your yard virtually unusable for long stretches and causing a health hazard when the mosquitoes move in. And you’ve finally decided to do something about it. The problem is, though, that the water has to go somewhere.
If that water then drains into your neighbor’s yard, making it soggy and messy, get ready for problems. If your neighbor raises a big stink and wants to take legal action, you do have recourse to the”reasonableness rule.” This rule holds that if a neighbor sues, he will have to provide proof that you did something”unreasonable” in altering your property to cause harm to his property.
2. Planting Ornamental Trees
We all want to make our mark on our property, imposing just a little of our own personality on it. And that basic human desire often expresses itself in the form of landscaping, sometimes in the specific form of ornamental trees. But certain trees turn out to be one of the home improvements that could turn your neighbors into your enemies in Western Massachusetts.
Take Bradford pears, for instance. Sure, they are absolutely gorgeous when in bloom. But despite the beautiful blooms, these trees exude an offensively overpowering, pungent, “masculine” smell during bloom time. In addition, these trees are notorious for shedding brittle branches all over the place, even into neighbors yards.
Planting ornamental trees may seem like a good idea, but it can have some major neighbor-related drawbacks.
3. Adding a Room
You’ve been living relatively frugally for a few years, and you’ve squirreled away enough money to add on a guest room. Now you’ve had the plans drawn up, and you’ve engaged a contractor. Just be aware that you may have problems with your neighbors.
They will be annoyed that they are now living next door to a job site with all the inevitable mess and noise. There will be trucks from the lumber yard making deliveries, the whine and growl of power tools, workers shouting, and the staccato noise of hammers and nail guns. It’s all necessary, but likely seen as a nerve-wracking annoyance by your neighbors.
They may also be upset when the job is completed, that their favorite view is now obstructed by your new room. This may not always be the case, but . . . just sayin’.
4. Installing a Pool
Or maybe you’ve been able to put back enough money to finally get that in-ground swimming pool you’ve always dreamed of. You know, the big one with the diving board, changing house, and wet bar. Then get ready for the envy and complaints.
It all starts with just a slight case of envy, which soon turns into resentment because your neighbors don’t have their own pool and because they can’t use your pool anytime and every time they want to. The resentment then turns into antagonistic anger whenever your neighbors have to listen to the sounds (sometimes pretty loud) of laughter and music and tinkling glasses when you have your night-time pool parties.
It can’t be helped, though. It’s just human nature.
While it is true there are home improvements that could turn your neighbors into your enemies in Western Massachusetts, you shouldn’t let that put you off your dreams and plans for your home. Using the right approach, you can move forward with your home-improvement plans without creating any “neighbor issues.”