Helpful spirit can lift neighborhood

Barbara,Clair Ramsey

Everyone knows that the three most important aspects of real estate are "location, location, location." However, location is more than just being on the right side of the street or in a particular area.

The value of location can fluctuate. A desirable location isn't just the newest or the most expensive subdivision. After all, some of the most popular areas are older and more established. A desirable location makes people feel so positive that they want to move to the area. Once living there, they proclaim, "I like living here" by maintaining the exterior as well as the interior.

Here are a couple of examples of how people have enhanced their location, which helps maintain and, in some cases, ultimately enhance property values.

Example 1: In a modest, older neighborhood, a laminated sign posted on a mailbox said, "Thank you neighbor for mowing our yard twice." The first thought: What a great neighborhood if a neighbor does that without asking. The second thought: The homeowner kept the yard maintained and took the time to put a bright red sign up to thank some unknown benefactor.

What a great reminder to take a moment from our busy schedules to look around our neighborhoods to see if someone is having trouble or is in need. Helping becomes a spontaneous act of kindness, one house at a time, that turns a neighborhood into a more inviting and desirable location.

However, this can extend past someone in need. When cutting your own lawn, don't cut just to the property line -- cut all the way over if you can. Why leave the telltale mark of distinction that boasts, "I cut mine -- when will you?" Taking pride in your exterior not only enhances your individual investment, but also shows your neighbors that you care about theirs.

Example 2: Have you ever seen your home from your neighbor's view? If you haven't, invite yourself over to the neighbors on all four sides. You might be amazed at the different perspective this will give you. All of the storage items you so cleverly hid in your back yard are very evident to your neighbors.

Who knows? Perhaps it will spark the neighbors to do the same thing and create a chain reaction based on a simple change in perspective.

Example 3: Sometimes a neighbor doesn't do a repair because they don't know how.

We recently mentioned to our neighbor on the west our frustration with the fence on the east jacking out of the ground, even after we had put in metal pipe. The next thing we know our neighbor to the west comes over with a bucket of tools and shows our adult son how to repair the fence. If that is not enough, the neighbor to the east calls to thank us for fixing the fence and offers to pay half of our expenses in appreciation.

Similar examples like these make us realize that value isn't always linked to a physical amenity. Can actions such as these affect the market? Not in obvious ways, but they can help make your neighborhood a better place, which will certainly pay dividends if and when you do sell your home. With a little community spirit, we can individually shape our neighborhoods into better places and add value when it comes time to sell -- so pass it on!

Clair and Barbara Ramsey are local associate brokers specializing in residential real estate. Their column appears regularly in the Anchorage Daily News. Their e-mail address is