Okay, you’ve been sprucing up you house getting it ready to sell; painting, planting, pruning, getting rid of the clutter, updating the appliances and countertops, etc., in fact your home looks better than any other home on the block. And, because it looks so good you are noticing that other homes in the area are looking a little shabby.
Talking to your Century 21 M&M Realtor, you find out that your home is not worth as much as it could be because of where it is located. Obviously you can’t move your home to a new location, so what can you do?
Be creative when it comes to your neighbors issues. Say your neighbor, right next door, is recently disabled, and not only that but she recently had to quit work and can no longer take care of her landscaping. The lawns are knee high, the paint is peeling and the shrubs are dead. And, the condition of her property is affecting the potential sales price of your property.
Consider mowing her front lawn at the same time you mow yours. Get together with your fellow neighbors, or your church, and paint the front of the home, put some plants into the ground and make sure that everything gets watered on a regular basis.
If the condition of her property is going to cost you thousands in the selling price of your home, then a couple hundred dollars and a bit of your time is money (and time) well spent.
Go to your Homeowners’ Association for help. If you have a homeowners association, then you have a perfect mechanism to address blighted homes that are lowering the value of your home.
These days, many developments across the country have Homeowners Associations (HOAs), not just condominiums but also single family residences. What happens is, over the years the HOAs become inactive, especially if there isn’t community property involved such as a clubhouse or swimming pool.
So what do you do? If there are meetings and a monthly fee, then most likely you have an active HOA, and if so you need to attend the Board meetings regularly. Ask the Association to review the rules, and speak up about the condition of your neighbors properties. You probably should volunteer to be part of a committee to look at what action can be taken.
Form a Neighborhood Action Committee. If you don’t have a HOA you can organize a Neighborhood Action Committee (NAC) with your neighbors in order to get positive things done. There are some limitations with a NAC as compared to the legal remedies of a HOA. However, with a NAC you can suggest, prod and help.
Prior to your NAC meeting, get some accurate information from your Century 21 M&M Realtor to find out what the average price of a home in your area is. Then, with the help of your real estate agent, compare that to similar neighborhoods that are in much better shape and much higher average prices.
Ask your Century 21 M&M Realtor to join in your next meeting and present their findings.
Address the graffiti. Actually this problem has a simple solution. It is a known fact that if graffiti is painted over (or cleaned up) quickly and regularly, the perpetrators will give up and move there activities to another place. So take the initiative to clean up graffiti whenever it happens, and get your neighbors to do the same. If your neighbors are unwilling or unable, get their permission to clean up the graffiti. It’s as simple as that!
Get the City officials on your side. In other words, be proactive in preventing the downgrading of your neighborhood. Be diligent, pay attention to notices in your mailbox or announcements in the news. Investigate and find out what is planned.
If you have an HOA or NAC, get involved and alert the other property owners that theirs is something afoot. No matter what, there is power in numbers, get your neighbors involved. If there is a public hearing and/or opportunities for written or vocal input, find out when the deadlines are and be sure your neighborhood input is there.
Blighted commercial or industrial property owners are often owned by out-of-town landlords that are completely unaware that their properties are in bad condition. Many times all you have to do is let the owner know that their properties are a problem and they will address the problem right away. If the owner (or manager) is aware and just doesn’t care, then get other neighbors involved to flex a little muscle at city board meetings.
Get public support and don’t overlook the power of the press. Call the newspaper or local television station and invite them to your committee meeting. You could even paint signs and protest on a busy street close by your neighborhood.
There are a lot of things you can do as a neighborhood homeowner to improve the condition of your community. However, you have to get involved, organize if necessary and stay diligent. Don’t forget the power of information and feel free to call your Century 21 M&M Realtor to assist with the information you need to increase the value of your property.