Getting along with your neighbors can make or break your home life. So, here’s what you should know about the people living next door:

  • Complaining will cost you. The biggest complaint about neighbors is noise – including barking dogs, loud music, house alarms, and domestic arguments. But real estate attorney Robert Zierman says that complaining can make things worse. Because if your neighbor doesn’t like you, they can sue you over anything from street parking, to the height of your fence. He suggests trying to build a good relationship with your neighbors, because friends usually don’t sue friends.

  • They could be quietly stealing your land. Say they move a fence, or plant a tree on your property, and nobody notices. After about 10 years, they can legally claim ownership of that land through something called “adverse possession” – adding to the value of their property while reducing yours. So, if you and your neighbor don’t know exactly where the boundaries are, get the property surveyed.

  • They may decide to rip up their lawn and plant corn! 43 million of us now grow our own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. But replacing traditional landscaping with a vegetable garden can reduce property values by as much as 8 percent.

  • When you sell, their comments could cost you 5 percent! That’s $10,000 on a $200,000 house. It’s common for prospective buyers to talk to the neighbors, and they may spill the beans on your basement flood. The lesson? Be careful what you share with your neighbors.