By Bob Gourley
Just as flowers bloom and verdant greens return to the grass and trees, community associations stop worrying about winter’s challenges and get ready for an exciting season of Landscaping, Beautification, and Recreation. Before you plant that first flower, power wash that first deck, or raise the net on the tennis court, I suggest you take a minute to tell the story to your members about why it is so important your community put forth all of the time, effort and money to make it such a beautiful place.
Most communities go through several phases as they mature. The first phase of community is development and construction. New associations benefit from the vision of the original architects of their community. Freshly paved roads and curbs, beautiful landscaping, amenities in tip-top shape are all signs of how desirable a community association will be to live in. That’s curb appeal and that what sells units.
I like to call the second phase “lived in”. This is when a community is still new enough that everything still looks pretty good but maybe not as good as it once did. The developer is no longer part of the community and the Board / Property Management company is responsible for all aspects of how the property looks and functions. Proactive communities will take charge here and keep everything looking as good as it did when the community was first built. More often than not, this is where communities begin to lose their once beautiful curb appeal.
Finally, many communities devolve into a third phase, which I like to call “it is what it is”. Cracks in the pavement, decks that need replacing, overgrown shrubs, and general weathering of the common grounds and/or buildings. Take a good look at your community and ask yourself, “Which phase are you in?”
There is a reason a good-looking community has more value than one that has crept into the “it is what it is” phase. Quite simply, when a potential new buyer visits the property, that buyer is looking at how desirable a community will be to live in or invest in. Poorly landscaped, unattractive properties do not attract buyers. Further, they drive prices down for all existing owners. That’s just bad business.
Part of the mission of the Board of Directors is to maximize property values for all owners. One simple way to do that is to invest in a positive effort at beautification efforts, including landscaping and recreation areas. Keeping external curb appeal high is of tremendous value to existing owners as well as prospective new members to the community.
Use your newsletter to explain this concept to all of your unit owners. They are less likely to gripe about how expensive it is to keep the community looking its best when they understand that it is in their best interest to do so. You’ll be rewarded with a great-looking community and higher property values as a result. Beauty isn’t just in the eye of the beholder, it’s also good business.