Homeowner

Dig in and put down roots: Your ultimate neighborhood guide

Bethany Ramos Family Fun, Homeowners, Lifestyle

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Reading Time: 6 minutes
Sept 20, 2018.

A good neighbor has value, especially those who plan to stay a while. And no matter where you settle down, investing in your local community can turn your neighborhood from good-to-great.

How nosy neighbors can improve your home equity

As Realtor.com reported based on their home price appreciation survey in 2016, where you choose to put down roots can affect your home’s appreciation. Living in an undesirable school district, for example, could drop your property value by over 22 percent. Living in a neighborhood with a high concentration of renters — and with fewer homeowners cultivating the community over the long-haul — could also decrease home prices by nearly 14 percent.

Homeowners often seek out their neighborhood based on “hyperlocal” factors like affordability, school scores, crime and unemployment rates, home value appreciation, and property taxes. In Attom Data Solutions’ 2018 housing report, nearly 11,000 U.S. neighborhoods were graded on a report card scale from A to F. The top five most desirable neighborhoods were found in Naples, Florida; Mobile, Alabama; San Jose, California; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Denver, Colorado, proving that you can find a great place to dwell almost anywhere.

Once you move in, don’t be put off by the nosy neighbor on your doorstep. (And don’t be afraid to be one, as long as it’s the friendly versus the meddlesome kind.) Neighbors who care — those who maintain their community and their homes — can help to increase your property value.

“Great neighborhoods come in many different forms,” Daren Blomquist, ATTOM Data Solutions senior vice president, said. And a homeowner’s willingness to grow their community can change their neighborhood’s culture, desirability, and price points completely.

When good neighbors become great: 12 ways to get more from your community

Making home upgrades is one smart way to increase your home’s value (and contribute to your neighborhood), but there are at least 12 other ways to get more out of where you live:

Get started

1. Circulate a neighborhood directory.

Homeowner
Putting together a printed or online neighborhood directory can help you connect to and keep track of who lives on your street. An HOA may be able to provide a list of names, phone numbers, and addresses, which you can confirm over the phone or in-person when you request permission to add neighbors to your list. To up the ante, write up a print or online neighborhood newsletter with monthly or seasonal updates and include the neighborhood directory list for your street.

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2. Consider carpool.

Homeowner
Grassroots as it may seem, ridesharing helps you get to know your neighbors on the daily. Finding out where other neighbors work, or what community activities they frequent, gives you a prime opportunity to save on gas and spend more face-time together. Carpooling is making a comeback, the U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2017, with more Americans now ridesharing to work in major cities.

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3. Form a neighborhood task force.

Homeowner
Crime impacts property values and neighborhood livability, making it more than worthwhile to invest in your street’s safety. Fortunately, starting a neighborhood watch can be easy, and you can officially register your group through the National Neighborhood Watch online.

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4. Form a neighborhood “care force” too.

Homeowner
Adding in an optional volunteer care force to your neighborhood’s task force can provide the elderly, parents, and pet owners with a helping hand in the form of errands, childcare, and pet-sitting.

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5. Get social.

Homeowner
The “hyperlocal” Nextdoor app is gaining popularity, allowing neighbors to stay updated on the latest happenings when you don’t have much time for face-to-face. (Think lost dogs, traffic jams, crime alerts, bad weather, and more). If your neighborhood’s not app-connected, think about starting a Facebook group instead. You can also increase your online and offline camaraderie by coming up with a nickname for your street. Start a Facebook poll to find a fun community name you all agree on — and give neighbors a stronger sense of identity.

We’re keeping things fun, fresh, and informative on Instagram. Here’s where to find us.

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6. Host a block party.

Homeowner
It’s a classic neighborhood get-together for a reason. Hosting a block party is one of the easiest ways to get to know the people living next to you. Depending on where you live, block parties can be family-friendly or adults-only — and they don’t have to break the bank. Make it a potluck or BYOB, ask neighbors to grill out on their porches, set up canopies and lawn chairs, plan a few games, and start the meet-and-greet.

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7. Plan a garage movie night.

Homeowner
To keep the block party momentum going, a garage movie night with an outside projector may be your next big thing. A movie night can also be kid- or adult-friendly, depending on the neighborhood, and works well in almost all weather conditions. Cook out in the summer or snuggle up with blankets and s’mores in the fall and use Unskinny Boppy’s fun (and free) movie night printables to invite your neighbors.

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8. Schedule a progressive dinner.

Homeowner
Progressive dinners, where each course is hosted at a different house, are probably coming to a block near you. More neighborhoods are starting to plan these nomadic meals as an annual tradition, often in lieu of a holiday party. Announce the event on your neighborhood app or Facebook page and use SignUp Genius to plan the menu. Then put on your walking shoes and get ready to try new foods, tour new homes, and meet new people.

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9. Start a community garden.

Homeowner
Not only will a neighborhood garden give back, yielding a steady and nearly-free food supply for nearby families. But it also creates a golden opportunity to get to know your neighbors better. Once you find a desired space, check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s helpful community garden guide to get started. If community garden space isn’t readily available, you can host a planting party instead. Coming together to spruce up neighboring houses can increase property values with return on investment of up to 303 percent.

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10. Try a trunk-or-treat.

Homeowner
Keeping trick-or-treating local — i.e., confined to your street — is a helpful way to keep an eye on your kids as you mingle with your neighbors. If your community doesn’t fall within Zillow’s top 20 cities for trick-or-treating, starting this annual tradition could turn that around. Bonus points for hosting a trunk-or-treat contest and awarding a prize to the most tricked-out trunk/costume combo.

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11. Sell for a cause.

Homeowner
A neighborhood tag sale is nothing new. But you can increase involvement and camaraderie when you sell with a purpose. Pooling your profits to buy bulk solar panels for all homeowners who participate, for example, is an eco-friendly and energy-saving idea adopted by several communities across the U.S. And according to the U.S. Department of Energy, reporting Appraisal Journal statistics, every dollar saved with a solar panel upgrade could increase a home’s value by $20.

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12. Welcome new neighbors.

Homeowner
Let’s not forget that not long ago you were the new kid on the block too. While you may not need to form a welcome committee, you can join up with a few neighbors to reach out to new faces. Drop off food. Invite them to dinner. Or, leave a thoughtful gift. Small investments in neighborhood quality can have a positive impact on families and influence teen’s behavior long-term.

Get more out of your mortgage: Stay in touch

You grow a great neighborhood and leave the mortgage details to us. Whenever questions arise, or when you realize we haven’t talked in a while, don’t hesitate to give your loan officer a holler. With a quick mortgage review, we can make sure your loan’s in tiptop shape and potentially spot new ways to save you money.

For educational purposes only. Please contact a qualified professional for specific guidance.

Sources deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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