What Is Nextdoor and How Does It Work?

Your insider's guide to this popular neighborhood app

Nextdoor is a neighborhood social network for residents in a specific area. Neighbors can stay connected and easily communicate about what's going on in their neighborhood in a safe, secure, and private way.

A bird's eye view of a neighborhood.
Michael H / Getty Images

What Makes Nextdoor a Popular Neighborhood Social Media App?

Unlike other popular social networks, you can't connect with just anyone on Nextdoor. To prevent scams and fraud, each neighbor must use their real name and verify their address in order to join and participate in a Nextdoor neighborhood.

Nextdoor has the power to turn local strangers into friends who look out for each other and the entire neighborhood. A lot can go on in any neighborhood, and the fastest way to learn about whatever is happening is through a neighbor who knows about it.

You can use Nextdoor to announce a date for your garage sale, get alerted about a package theft, find a babysitter, and even advertise your teen's local lawn cutting services. It's the perfect online hub to stay in the know about where you live.

How the Nextdoor Neighborhood App Works

Nextdoor can be used online or via mobile app, with versions for both iOS and Android. It's also completely free to use.

You can search for your existing neighborhood by typing in your address and you'll automatically be assigned to the corresponding neighborhood if one is found. If a neighborhood hasn't been created yet on the platform, you'll be given the opportunity to create one.

To be eligible to join or create a neighborhood on Nextdoor, you must satisfy at least one of the following conditions:

  • You rent or own a home in the neighborhood;
  • You have a second home in the neighborhood;
  • You own property in the neighborhood in which you're planning to build on; or
  • You're a landlord or property manager who owns a rental property in the neighborhood.

Nextdoor neighborhoods can include anywhere from 100 to 3,000 households. There's also a Nearby Neighbhorhoods feature that allows members of a neighbhorhood to share messages with other surrounding neighborhoods and to see posts from the members of those nearby neighborhoods.

Nextdoor's Neighbor Verification Process

You can't access a neighborhood and start participating until you've verified your address. You can do this two ways:

  • Phone number: Your phone plan's billing address must match the address you used to join Nextdoor. Nextdoor will then send a code to your phone via text that you must use to enter into the Nextdoor site or app.
  • Postcard: If you don't verify your address by phone within the first 24 hours of setting up your account, Nextdoor will automatically mail a postcard to your address with a code on it, which could take up to 10 days to receive. You must use the code on the postcad to enter into the Nextdoor site or app.

About Nextdoor Leads

Nextdoor leads are neighbors in your neighborhood that have been granted special privileges to help manage the various activities that take place within the neighborhood on the Nextdoor platform. You can think of them like moderators of a forum or online community.

Nextdoor leads can do the following:

  • Vote to remove member messages they think violate Nextdoor's guidelines;
  • Adjust the boundaries of the neighborhood;
  • Help verify members who remain unverified;
  • Edit the neighborhood's About section; and
  • Grant other members lead status.

What You Can Do on the Nextdoor Neighbor App

Nextdoor has a lot of features that other social networks have. You can do all the following as a Nextdoor member of a neighborhood:

  • Post a message, event, poll, link, photo, video, attachment or even an alert to all of your neighbors;
  • Comment and leave replies on your own posts and posts from neighbors;
  • Get a news feed of all your neighborhood activity;
  • Private message other neighbors;
  • Create, join and participate in neighborhood groups for places to discuss shared interests;
  • Buy, sell, and give away items in the For Sale & Free section;
  • Take advantage of extra features like the Treat Map for handing out Halloween candy and the Pet Directory in case neighborhood pets go missing;
  • Create and join events;
  • Offer recommendations for local business;
  • Become a casual business provider (neighbor for hire); and
  • Forward crime/safety posts and urgent alerts directly to law enforcement (if available in your neighborhood).

Getting Started With Nextdoor

Search your address on Nextdoor.com or download the Nextdoor app for iOS or the Nextdoor app for Android and start creating your account. Remember you have to use your real name and verify your address before you can join and participate in your neighborhood.