One of the main priorities for every HOA is to ensure the homes within the association are inviting to potential buyers. Below are our five key ways to make your home stand out and appeal to both potential buyers and current homeowners.
1. Make a Plan
Making a plan to strategize how you want to maintain your home and the community’s surroundings will help you save time, money, and energy as you take action to give your neighborhood curb appeal. Creating a plan with your HOA is also a good opportunity to help you better engage with fellow board members.
Maintaining the aesthetic attraction of the community yards and grassy areas is key. Landscaping is a large undertaking, albeit a necessary one, so planning it out ahead of time will help a lot. As you plan your landscaping, it’s important to select plants and materials which grow easily and don’t require a constant watchful eye. Neither you nor your fellow board members want to spend the HOA’s budget on fussy plants that are difficult to keep alive. Something else that should be planned out are methods to quickly remove trash and clean any blemishes. Potential buyers want to see a community that looks like it’s regularly and thoroughly maintained
Depending on how the plot was developed, you will want to make sure the neighborhood is easy to navigate. For example, if no one can see the building numbers it might be hard to find your way around the area. Additionally, making sure your streets are always well-lit helps with beauty and safety for the community. Visibility is also something buyers will be looking for. As an HOA board member, it’s your responsibility to ensure that lighting, signs, and numbering are all visible. The main question you need to ask yourself is, “do I feel safe?” If not, you’ll want to make some improvements. Night or day, you want ample signage visible around the neighborhood.
2. Curb Appeal is a Group Effort
Know what you want from your curb appeal efforts. Bringing the residents into the process helps them take ownership – and takes some of the burden off of your shoulders! For example, developing a Neighborhood Watch program deters crime and pranks. Similarly, an architectural control committee also increases engagement from your members and ups the interest from potential buyers. This group doesn’t have to be a draconian organization who specify how many reindeer are allowed on the roofs at holiday time, this group is merely in place to make sure the general architectural rules are being followed. Check your CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) to make sure your paperwork gives you the ability to put potential plans in place.
When dealing with common areas, you’ll need to develop a budget for ongoing maintenance costs, as well as the initial setup. Because landscaping costs often use large amounts of the HOA’s annual budget, look for ways you can reduce expenses. One option to cut back on landscaping costs is to use “grey water,” a method that uses gently used water from baths, sinks, and washing machines to water common-area grass and plants throughout the neighborhood. Another way to cut landscaping costs is to find plants and materials that don’t need a lot of water and irrigation. This practice is known as “xeriscaping.” This is a pretty popular method in the dry Southwest and in similar climates where rain and humidity isn’t a constant.
If it’s hard to keep your grassy areas maintained, consider reducing the amount of land where you need grass. Think about using basketball, tennis, or pickleball courts to cover more of the area. Even parking, adding additional homes, or recreational buildings can help you reduce the need for grass. Perhaps you’ve noticed that members of the community have worn trails through your common areas. Try building a sidewalk or other type of path over them to preserve your landscaping.
4. Clean Up
Keeping the community free of trash is an obvious way to up your neighborhood’s curb appeal. Garbage collection points and the areas around dumpsters or trash compactors should be kept as trash-free as possible. If the area isn’t well-maintained, the neighborhood can take on a general appearance of neglect. Make sure common areas are pressure washed on a regular basis. Dingy surfaces only make your community look older and worn-down. Potential buyers will judge the property by how clean it is, whether they’re aware of it or not.
Similarly, keeping the roads freshly painted and resurfaced makes the community look clean and well-cared for. Who wants to buy a home in a community where the potholes are big enough to swallow your car?
5. Rule Enforcement
Making sure the homeowners follow the rules is never a fun aspect of the HOA role, but prospective owners might be turned off if they see multiple violations as they’re driving through the neighborhood. What’s more, buyers new to the neighborhood might think they don’t need to stick to the rules because they aren’t enforced properly.
Even though making sure the rules are followed tends to be a delicate matter, remember, as a board member, your duty is to the community as a whole. If a few residents are spoiling the value for everyone else, they need to be dealt with. Sometimes it’s worth upsetting a few people if it benefits everyone else.
There are a number of ways to make your association inviting to potential buyers. Creating a plan, engaging current homeowners, and prioritizing landscaping, cleanup, and related rule enforcement will increase the curb appeal of your neighborhood. Paying attention to these five areas will make sure your community is attractive and safe for everyone!