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Local Realtor takes ‘The Art of Neighboring’ to new level

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Jim Hiltner

As a realtor, Jim Hiltner deals with issues facing homeowners. He has seen first hand how important neighbors can be and how many problems can be solved when people in neighborhoods know each other and are friendly. “My wife and I have lived in the same neighborhood since 1990. However, at the time, we moved in thinking we would only be in the home for a year or two. Even so, our neighbors were very friendly and welcomed us, which led to long-term relationships,” he said. “But this scene doesn’t always work that well,” he added.

“I deal with many homeowner association board members,” he said. “It seems that many of them spend most of their time policing problems between neighbors,” he pointed out. “When people don’t know each other, they are less likely to discuss problems between themselves and more likely to involve their homeowners association or even the police, creating even a bigger situation,” he said.

When Hiltner heard Dave Runyon, the co-author of The Art of Neighboring, a guest speaker at McCord Road Christian Church on March 12, the message resonated with him. Hiltner bought into the program and decided to incorporate the Art of Neighboring in his business.

“One of the ways I have found to foster good neighboring is to encourage homeowners to host a block party. I have a list of suggestions on how to organize such an event. I also donate a case of bottled water for the party,” Hiltner explained. “This is a fun and easy way to get to know all of your neighbors,” he promised.

“And, on the practical side, neighborhoods that offer a strong sense of community and friendliness adds value to each home, as well,” Hiltner said.

McCord Road Christian Church Outreach Coordinator Betty Basset noted, “This year’s outreach focus at McCord Road Christian Church is to ‘Serve Sylvania,’ so concentrating efforts on the art of neighboring is very appropriate and part of our broad purpose.” After researching the subject, she found “The Art of Neighboring,” a book written by Runyon and Jay Pathak.

“This is something everyone can do,” Bassett reflected. “We all have neighbors and the art of neighboring is a simple concept. If you know your neighbors, you can have a dialog with them. Those conversations lead to understanding,” she said.

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