What's the most valuable thing you can do to raise your home's value? Is it landscaping? Putting in a pool? A kitchen or bath remodel? All those things help, but if you really want to watch your homes value take off, start a homeowners association. Trust me. Nothing is more of an indicator of your homes potential future value than the strength of its homeowners association. You don't need a lot of money to get a homeowners association going. Just look around and try to define its logical borders. Make it nice and small and cozy. Give it an adorable name. As a realtor, I think its best if the person who is the leader of the charge isn't a real estate agent. It gives them too much power over your neighborhood, and I think that's a bad thing. The association needs to be bigger than that.
Also, you need a Mac. Macs make everything pretty.
You don't need a website to start, you just need to get a Facebook group going. Then, when you're up and running, I bet someone in your neighborhood is better at computers than you are, and they will help you build a website.
On a Mac, if I can make a passable counterfeit hundred dollar bill (I'm kidding, it wasn't passable), you can certainly make a nice newsletter. You need a newsletter because a lot of older people, like my grandma Mona, don't have a computer.
I bet if you take that newsletter to your local print shop, they will give you a great cost on a run of them if you put their name and number on it in exchange.
Then, throw a block party. Have fun. Get some cookies going. Raise the roof! Invite your local assemblyman and politicians. If politicians see 300 people, they see votes. Now you have clout. If there's a digital billboard and its bothering a few people, a complaint from a neighborhood gets more attention than a complaint from two homes.
If you do this, pretty soon, your property value is going to soar. Trust me. I've seen it happen over and over again.
No one knows where you live if your neighborhood is undefined.
If your neighborhood has an adorable name, the real estate agents are going to start paying attention to it, and they are going to put its name in their marketing literature, and your property value is going to go up, up and away.
Also, support your local neighborhood shops. If you have a great little restaurant and store in your neighborhood, they are the anchors for your neighborhood. Support them, insure their success, and your property values soar. If the little shops leave, and they put a Chipotle in there instead, the value is going down.
I think we all need to stop worrying about the supposed "fiscal cliff" so much as it pertains to our real estate value, and ask ourselves what we our capable of when we reach out to our friends and neighbors.
p.s. After you establish your neighborhood homeowners association, I think beautiful paint, interior and exterior, is the best thing you can do to improve your home's value. Think of a fantastic paint job from a quality tradesman as a beautiful custom made suit from Zegna: It will hide your homes paunch and give it some shoulder.