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The importance of a strong neighbourhood:

It is not always a beautiful day in the neighbourhood. Sometimes when selling a house you may find your neighbours are in fact not very neighbourly at all. For example, local establishments might be open for business late at night and be considered the neighbourhood nuisance. Some communities have bylaws restricting everything from parking to house colouring to the height of the bushes, making it difficult for residents to feel as though they are in control of their own properties.
On some streets, the neighbours simply prefer to keep to themselves – a “closed door” policy.
Opening a few of those doors can go a long way toward helping towards creating a strong neighbourhood that has a sense of community. Places where people know their neighbours are more secure than those where everyone remains a stranger.
Here are some tips for fostering a strong neighbourhood that is both safe and desirable for potential buyers.
Starting a neighbourhood association
See if your local municipality offers any sort of support for those who wish to start a neighbourhood community or association. Sometimes funding may be available for block parties, barbecues or other activities that everyone can enjoy. These are great ice breakers for neighbours who have lived near to each other for years but never really met and interacted.
If late-night establishments are spilling on to the neighbouring street, residents may be tired of the noise and potential for vandalism. This can make people much more reluctant to answer the door during the day or to feel like being outside in the yard at night. It also lowers the value of your property – desirable by day, deafening by night is not a selling point.
Enlist the help of the neighbourhood association, if there is one, in understanding the local bylaws about noise and parking rules. Try to have your neighbourhood work with the business so that everyone can get some sort of compromise. Maybe the late-night establishment could fence their perimeter to discourage people from wandering into nearby yards.
One example of a business that tries not to impact its immediate surroundings is Tim Hortons, which provides large numbers of garbage containers on their own property as well as large signs asking people not to litter in the neighbourhood.
Dealing with noise and traffic
If the source of the difficulty is from noise such as trains or a nearby factory, it may be worth circulating a petition in the neighbourhood to have the town or city construct some sort of sound barrier between the neighbourhood and the noise. Noise breaks can be natural such as shrubs, bushes and trees as well as human-built barriers designed to repel the sound. This is where bylaws can work in your favour if you get a decibel meter and can prove the area is noisier than allowed by local laws.
If you have frequent speed violators or a situation where children can’t play in the front yards due to concerns about the traffic on the street, bylaws can help your buyers and sellers. Be proactive and see if the municipality will lower the speed or make more prominent speed limit signs. Sometimes if enough people complain a street can even get speed bumps put in or a close becomes pedestrian traffic only (if there is back access for parking).
Have a neighbourhood directory
Information about the community is something that a buyer always enjoys having, including such things as local garbage days, schools, shops, transportation, local events and bylaws. Having your own directory of this information is a handy way to keep your name on the mind of your new buyers and is a good-faith gesture for prospective buyers. It’s also a sales tool that anyone viewing the house can take home with them.
Other ways of imparting this information include social media, websites and even your advertising. For the tech crowd, ads on local websites such as Meetup.com or free online classifieds announcing community get-to-know-you events may work well at pulling together your neighbourhood.
If you have an entire new suburb or subdivision of homes on your list to sell, this is the ideal time to become involved in the local neighbourhood. Since area information will be repeated to each buyer of houses in your suburb or subdivision, what better time to put your personal stamp on an entire area? Becoming a local community volunteer is a good way to get to know current and future prospective clients while exceeding their expectations.
By Yvonne Dick