There is obviously very little I can do about the recession and depreciating home values, but are there things that I could be doing, or our neighborhood can do to increase the value or appeal of our community? How can we set ourselves apart from all of the other communities through the valley?
Home values are on everyone’s minds these days, especially with millions of owners upside down on their properties.
While most Americans are confident that home prices will rebound, the uncertainty can be truly unnerving.
Until we see an economic recovery and home values begin to appreciate again, I encourage association board members and homeowners to focus on what they can control.
There are several things that association members can do to positively impact the value and appeal of their community.
One significant benefit of living in a homeowners association is that there is a governing body that has the ability to coordinate common area improvements and community events to enhance the lives of residents.
While properly maintaining and improving community common areas, including landscaping, recreation centers and amenities can absolutely improve the curb appeal of a community, something that is often overlooked is the association’s ability to help turn a typical neighborhood into an extraordinary community through association sponsored activities and events.
Most families yearn to live in a community where neighbors are friendly and community events and activities, such as barbecues and spring egg hunts, are plentiful.
Do not underestimate the intrinsic value of a strong, active homeowners association and a close-knit, friendly community.
Oftentimes when buyers are in the market to purchase a new home, part of their due diligence is to spend time in the community, meeting with neighbors and asking about the association.
Optimistic residents with friendly dispositions and positive feelings about the association can absolutely make one community more appealing than another.
What better way to build a strong sense of community and build goodwill between the association and the membership than through community events?
Understandably, many homeowner associations have struggled in recent years with an unprecedented number of delinquent owners impacting association revenues, but there are things association’s can do to still hold community events while keeping the costs down.
Oftentimes the association’s vendors, such as their management company, landscape maintenance company or security company are more than happy to help sponsor community events.
A potluck-style event can be a lot of fun and is also a great way to keep costs down.
For associations without a clubhouse or recreation center, plan an event in a public park or at a neighborhood bowling alley.
I have also heard of communities holding progressive dinners where owners open their homes, each cooking a different dish, and neighbors visit each home trying the different dishes. (Please note, I encourage associations to consult with their legal counsel and insurance carrier to ensure liability concerns are mitigated and proper insurance coverage is in place prior to holding a community event.)
Although there is little to nothing you can do about the state of our economy and the direct impact on home values, there are things that you and your association’s board of directors can do to improve the quality of life for your community’s residents, ultimately building an association that residents are proud to be part of and potential home buyers will want to purchase into.