The Real Key To Home Values: Kindness


A recent study from Bank of America found that the No. 1 thing homebuyers valued in their home search was community and friendly neighbors. Also noted, 68% of younger prospective homebuyers and 75% of young homeowners said safety and security have become greater priorities when choosing where they will live. Could being a good neighbor drive a return on investment of our real estate assets? Absolutely!

This is a different narrative than the media’s obsession with interest rates and low inventory. Sure, these are important factors, and everyone understands how supply and demand operate. In my professional opinion, the reporting about interest rates and low inventory has been superficial and lacked a more discerning examination for the reason behind the local demand spike. Simply put, rate stimulation ended in 2022, yet there are currently more buyers than sellers, therefore current demand isn’t about interest rates anymore. It is about something much bigger than interest rates; it is about finding an emotional connection to a community.

During COVID, people had plenty of time at home to reassess their priorities and goals, including how their living space and surroundings fit into their lives. The irony of this movement is that our community was built upon the same principles when sprawl occurred in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. The urban migration from Baltimore and Washington to the suburbs of Severna Park and surrounding areas was driven by remarkably similar desires for great schools, outdoor living, safe communities and kind neighbors. The fabric of our community is woven with volunteerism at community organizations like Green Hornets and GARCI (now BAYS), high school mulch sales, the Fourth of July parade down Benfield and Evergreen roads, the Severna Park Chamber of Commerce holiday tree lighting, and the resurrection of the Severna Park Community Center.

As a practice, I always ask a home seller what they have loved about their home. I do this so I can clearly understand the key attributes to highlight in marketing. Almost unanimously, the first answer out of most seller’s mouths will be along the lines of, “Let me tell you about the neighborhood.” Stories include shoveling a neighbor’s walkway, bringing over a lasagna at a tough time, a weekly book club, borrowing tools, keeping a lookout for speeding cars, and caring for children as their own. These tangible acts of kindness unequivocally become the underpinning to housing values. Show me a community that has kindness, and I will bet the values are strong. Conversely, show me a neighborhood that lacks respect and kindness, and I will bet the values are weak.

Housing is more than interest rates and inventory. Neighborhoods are more than platted subdivisions. Community is the aspiration! Community takes on a different meaning when approached from the lens of kindness. A wave and a smile never go out of style, supporting a local business owner will always be most appreciated, volunteering locally makes a difference, and kids still need to hear stories of their elders.

Kindness. It is good for your heart and your home value.


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