Every planned Sarasota neighborhood wants to present its best appearance to those looking to purchase a home. Whether selling new construction to homebuyers, or hoping to keep your resales moving on and off the market, HOAs can do a lot to improve their neighborhood appeal and make their community an attractive choice, no matter the market. If you are involved in an HOA committee and are looking for ways to improve your image (without spending too much money) – here are some great ideas.
Welcome Home: Neighborhood appeal begins at the entrance to the community. Turning into a neighborhood that has an attractive sign, beautiful landscaping and proper illumination sets the mood right from the beginning. The best communities will have landscaping which may rotate plants, flowers and holiday displays, often installed by residents who love gardening and landscaping. Many communities have found that residents who enjoy these activities are more than willing to get their hands dirty a few times a year to beautify the front entrance.
Keep it Going: Community areas, medians, and the front of the clubhouse are all key areas to keep well-maintained and manicured. Consider adding plants and trees which are native, hardy, and colorful – in order to catch the eye without requiring too much maintenance.
That Resort Feel: You may wish to add a few outdoor fireplaces to the community pool area (gas may work best). or line the clubhouse driveway with tiki torches. Whatever your choice to make the community feel like a vacation resort, know that people love the vibe – especially those who just moved down from another, less tropical part of the country. Adding fountains, statuaries, and colorful river rock are all ways to make the place feel just a bit more special than your average community.
Well-Lit Walkways: The balmy weather draws people outside year-round, even if it gets dark before dinner. Take advantage of the strong dose of daily sun and consider solar powered lamps to line sidewalks, paths, and walkways to buildings. If you are concerned about them getting damaged by pedestrians or dogs, you can affix to fences or even embed in concrete. These solar “luminaries” will help people to see their path and also feel safer as they walk around your community at night.
Less is More: This next tip actually comes from a local real estate broker. Although we consider HOAs normal, people moving from other parts of the country find them surprising – and the two inch thick book of rules is quite frankly off-putting. While everyone understands that these covenants are in place to maintain the aesthetics of the community to a certain standard, being too strict and nit-picky will drive people away. Neighborhood appeal is not diminished by a little creativity and individualism – but making people feel as if they are not free to enjoy their own home (or suffer the wrath of a few cranky neighbors) will certainly cause residents to desert the community.
Here’s a Hint: Provide homeowners with a wide range of permissible trees, plants and flowers which they may plant – and then greatly reduce the requirement for approvals of all changes. Furnish a varied palette of acceptable home and roofing material colors; as well as a list of appropriate fencing options. This will take a lot of pressure off the agricultural committee, as well as free the homeowner up to make decisions on their own, without waiting for weeks or even months for the approval to upgrade their home.
If you are an HOA member or a homeowner looking to upgrade your landscaping and the architectural interest of your property, stop by one of Big Earth Landscape Supply’s Sarasota or Tampa area locations. We have everything you need to give your community the neighborhood appeal it needs.