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5 Signs the Block Has Gone Bad and It’s Time to Move

5 Signs the Block Has Gone Bad and It’s Time to Move

Choosing a place to live can be incredibly stressful and mentally taxing. Finding the perfect blend of comfort, price, and location can take weeks if not months. Even when you find the right home the work has only just begun. Upkeep can be expensive though necessary to keep your home in it’s top condition.

How your neighbors take care of their property can also directly impact your property value. We’ve all heard of curb appeal and how important it is for everyone to keep their areas in tip top shape. But what happens when several of your neighbors start to care less and less about their homes appearance? The sad truth is that neighborhoods occasionally fall into decay.

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The good news is if you stay alert and look for the signs, you may be able to tell before anyone else that you’re living on a block that’s headed in the wrong direction. Even if you think you’ve found your forever home, surrounding circumstances may lead you to think twice. If this happens to you, have no fear, moving is always an option. There will always be more fish in the sea, or in this case, houses.

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So if you think your neighborhood may be going bad here are some troubling indicators to note:

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  • Increased police presence: This is an obvious one, but its significance can elude you if you’re shrugging off frequent police visits as isolated incidents. Added police patrols and elevated law enforcement responses likely indicate a problem—or several—on your block. Police typically step up patrols to deter potential problems, and this is a bad sign if they’re doing it near you.
  • Broken windows staying broken: If graffiti or other petty crime goes unchecked, it could mean that property owners have given up on the neighborhood. In their classic study on crime prevention, Fixing Broken Windows, George Kelling and Catherine Coles argue that controlling disorderly behavior prevents neighborhood decline. Unchecked vandalism is a sure sign of neighborhood decay. If you begin to see broken windows or have heard of an increase in petty crime it’s most likely time to start banding together as a neighborhood and keep things in check.
  • Homes in disrepair: If homeowners regularly ignore decorating, basic maintenance, and/or upkeep of their homes—like planting spring flowers, painting or replacing deteriorating fixtures—it could be a sign that property owners either no longer care about the neighborhood or are looking to get out.
  • Drop in homeownership and a corresponding rise in rentals and foreclosures: Neighborhoods dominated by rental properties and foreclosures tend to be headed toward decline. Foreclosures take a significant social and economic toll on a community, while renters don’t always view their residences the same way that homeowners do. Too often foreclosed homes are sold to investors who transform the homes into multi-unit apartments or transitional housing, and this can be a sign that things are getting worse, not better.
  • Long-term vacancies: If properties remain vacant, go unsold, or remain boarded up, these homes can become havens for mischief and crime. Likewise, their value will decrease and depress the property values of every home on the block. More than one vacant property is bad news. The longer these homes remain vacant, the more deleterious the effect.

With a little effort and some organizing, neighbors can work together to keep their blocks and neighborhoods moving in the right direction. However, if these signs sound too familiar, it may be time to call it a day and move on to a new home. By ignoring these signs, you put yourself at risk for damage to your new home as well as the future sale price if you ever do move.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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