The number one goal of every board is to enhance the value of the real estate that is part of the Association. The following are eleven relatively easy ways that a board can do just that.
Eleven Ways to Enhance Real Estate Value
- Keep your focal points tidy. Community entrances, courtyards, gazebos, pool/clubhouse areas, and front doors should be kept absolutely pristine. A clean and well-maintained appearance in these areas reflects caring and good maintenance. Caring and good maintenance increases desirability and value.
- Keep landscaping well maintained. Neat and well-maintained landscaping allows a buyer’s eye to move freely to the structure. Annual flowers are a must. Flowers indicate an attention to detail which is appealing to buyers.
- Set assessments at reasonable levels. Whatever appeal a community gains by a lower assessment is eliminated by the decay and deterioration caused by an under-funded budget. Once assessments are set at reasonable levels, items such as preventative maintenance schedules and fresh reserve studies fall into place.
- Planning. A community with a detailed reserve study is more appealing to a buyer than a community that flies by the seat of its pants. Of course, once completed, the reserve study must be followed.
- Maximize income. All income sources should be fully investigated and tapped. Fees paid by utility companies for easements or rights of way should be scooped up immediately. This newly-found income should be used to provide additional or higher levels of service. Increasing service, at no additional cost, increases value.
- Spread the news. Tell your owners and tell the community what you are doing to better the community. Newsletters are a must. An annual report and a website are also valuable. Real estate agents can use these tools to sell homes faster and at higher prices.
- Promote community spirit. Prospective buyers need to know that your community is a proud community and a fun place to live. Organize seasonal socials and promote them continually.
- Seek competent board members. Look for people with knowledge of business because your association is a business. Your association is in the business of increasing value.
- Update your documents. Do not allow some archaic verbiage in your legal documents, such as a very low expenditure limitation to govern your every move. Change or delete out-of-touch provisions of your legal documents. Seriously review pet prohibitions. 25% of all Americans own a pet. Therefore, if you prohibit pets, you reduce prospective buyers by 25%.
- Develop an identity. Determine what makes your community unique and promote that characteristic to everyone who will listen. A community needs to differentiate itself in the marketplace just like businesses do.
- Limit rentals. Rentals have a bad name. In addition, banks are more inclined to grant mortgages in communities with lower rental rates. If your legal documents allow it, limit the number of rentals to no more than 10%.
Real Estate Value Responsibility
In summary, the board must continue to remind itself that its main responsibility is to enhance the value of the real estate. If necessary, organize a value enhancement committee whose sole responsibility is to enhance property values. But most of all, do not allow non-value enhancement issues to chew up your time and sap your strength!