No matter what kind of money you pump into your home — whether you dig a swimming pool, design a state-of-the-art kitchen or even build an addition that doubles your square footage — your property will only ever be worth so much. That’s because real estate agents and buyers use home values in your neighborhood to determine the best price for your home; the improvements you make to your lot have a relatively minor effect on your home’s value.
It follows, then, that to boost your property value, you need to be sure your neighborhood is increasing in quality alongside your own home. Here are a few tips to help you (and your neighbors) improve your neighborhood, so everyone can enjoy higher property values.
Develop Community Pride
If you aren’t happy to live where you live — indeed, proud of your surroundings and the people around you — your efforts to improve your neighborhood won’t have much of an impact. However, it is important that you not only enhance your own feelings toward your community but strive to grow pride all other community members, as well. In areas with high levels of community pride, residents are more likely to voluntarily keep their properties nice and comply with governing documents like HOA regulations. You can foster community pride through frequent, positive communication with your neighbors.
Keep Everything Clean
Trash blows out of garbage cans and is littered by inconsiderate passers-by, even in the most expensive neighborhoods. However, if you and your neighbors don’t commit to picking it up, no one else will. That means fast food wrappers, plastic grocery bags and other unsightly bits of debris could float around your neighborhood, catching the eye of visitors and potential buyers. Whenever you see a bit of trash, you should grab it and dispose of it properly to create a clean neighborhood for everyone.
Focus on Landscaping
Visitors to your neighborhood can’t see inside your home, so they won’t know about your expensive and impeccable interior design. Instead, they will judge neighborhood value based on exterior style, which means you need to focus much of your home improvement efforts on your landscaping. Most importantly, you should avoid allowing your flora to fall into disrepair. If you lack the tools and knowledge to keep your trees and grass in perfect health, you can hire a yard and lawn care service to maintain your outside spaces and increase the value of your home.
Push for Infrastructure
If your neighborhood is riddled with potholes and cracked sidewalks, you need to ensure those get fixed. You might also want to add features like bike paths or a dog park. If you can get a number of neighbors together to lobby the city council for street repair in your area, you can get the funding for infrastructure maintenance you need to boost your neighborhood’s value. You might need to practice persistence as nothing in the government moves fast.
Get Involved in Schools
For one reason or another, neighborhoods with good schools are also those with high-priced houses. That means you need to invest in your area’s schools if you want to attract buyers with deep pockets. Even if you don’t yet have school-aged children, you can take an interest in the upkeep, progress and politics of nearby schools. For instance, you can attend school board meetings, donate your money and volunteer at events and generally help the school earn more funding for better programs. Then, whether or not you have kids who use those schools, buyers will be attracted to the district’s reputation.
Contact Real Estate Agents
To improve your neighborhood value, you need the right kind of neighbors. Generally, renters are bad for home prices; because they have little concern for property values, they’ll do the minimum with regards to upkeep and improvements. That’s why you want real estate agents in your area to focus on pushing properties onto owners instead of investors. If you and your neighbors are on the same page, those who sell their homes might be willing to tell their agents that they’ll only entertain offers from potential owners. While many agents usually try to sell properties to the highest bidder, regardless of who that entity might be, agents will honor a direct request from a client.
No matter how spirited you are about improving your neighborhood’s value, you can’t do it alone. You need the help of your neighbors to make real change in your area, and that means you need to be willing to not just meet your neighbors but foster relationships with them.
Fortunately, you will likely find most of your neighbors amenable to positive change. When you work together, you will see property prices rise en masse, and you’ll all reap the rewards of a more valuable neighborhood as a group.