There are a variety of aspects that factor into a home’s value, but its location and neighborhood offerings can make or break a sale. In modern neighborhoods, a move towards sustainability has become the expectation, and for good reason. The effects of sustainability seep into every desirable facet of a neighborhood; one of these important facets being improved school systems. As education and nearby schools have been a long cited deciding factor for interested buyers, families with school-age children will often pay between 10 and 20 percent more for a home that falls within a desirable school system.
A decent school system is not the only factor families look at; proximity to amenities, neighborhood appearance, and community involvement all play a part in the decision process. So what does sustainability have to do with home value improvements? In a word—everything. Not only do sustainable cities help reduce environmental stress, but cities with strong government support for green practices will see money pumped into smaller communities, improving the educational system and walkability aspect in one fell swoop. Individual contributions to sustainability are great for home value, but communities that engage on a more comprehensive level will see sustainable efforts improve individual and neighborhood circumstances.
Walkability, bike-ability, and access to public transit are another important set of factors that contribute to quality of life, home value, and neighborhood sustainability. Cities with higher walking and biking scores such as Portland (#14 in the USA according to walkscore.com) attract people. This translates into a lower environmental footprint and increased market desirability. In simple economics terms: with the rise of demand comes a rise in price.
The choices we make affect our habitat and ecosystem, and the steps taken by communities to improve sustainability increases neighborhood value. If you’re looking for ways to add value to your neighborhood, consider incorporating these tips:
A Community Garden
Take advantage of any open space your community has, whether it be in front of individual homes or apartments, and take the opportunity to approach government figures about utilizing city space. Officials are often willing to get involved and may provide valuable grant money towards the cultivation of a community garden space. If there are local schools, approach administrators about learning and extracurricular opportunities for students in regards to garden care and upkeep.
Add Sustainable Home Amenities
To create community response, you must begin at the individual level. Get together with neighbors and consider sustainable amenities that could serve as welcome additions to your home and the neighborhood. Green roofs have become a popular route. These roofs are covered with vegetation, save water, create a habitation for wildlife, and provide insulation. A “green roof” can also refer to a roof that uses green technology, like those with reflective surfaces designed to serve as temperature control—another draw for modern buyers. Other sustainable amenities include water reclamation systems, and living walls lined with vegetation. Even if only a few homes have these amenities, the value of the entire neighborhood will grow.
Smart landscaping can have a major impact on the value of a neighborhood, and a focus on sustainability makes any of these renovations even more valuable. Owners who add vegetation, earth berms, and tree-lined streets to their property reduce runoff and conserve energy. Homes with these elements also sell at higher prices, sometimes at increases of 20%.
Save and Develop Local Parks
With local amenities playing such a pivotal role in the desirability of a neighborhood, the development of local parks can make a huge difference. The inclusion of family-friendly green spaces adds greatly to the idea of a “walkable” neighborhood and a community space adds a more closely knit community feel that modern buyers seek.
Make Your Voice Heard
Making a difference requires the action of various players. Beyond individual efforts, take your ideas and plans to city meetings, spread improvement ideas with the use of flyers, and host neighborhood get-togethers to get the word out. City councilmen and women have the power to provide resources you can utilize in pursuit of sustainability. They are often in charge of budgetary concerns and neighborhood improvement projects. Writing letters and speaking to these individuals may lead to grant money or city endorsement of sustainability projects that can improve the desirability of a neighborhood and the value of your home.
Improving the sustainable aspects of a neighborhood provides more than environmental benefits. From enhanced aesthetics to money-saving natural resource systems, sustainability leads to better education, improved access to desirable amenities, and a sense of community not found elsewhere. If you’re looking to embrace modern housing trends, fostering a sustainable neighborhood should be at the top of your list.
Author Bio: Sacha Ferrandi, founder of Source Capital Funding, Inc., is a 15-year expert in real estate, hard money lending, and finance. Source Capital Funding is based in San Diego and licensed in California, Arizona, Minnesota, and Oregon.