I had an idea on neighborhood improvement that might be kinda left field, and am wondering if people could weigh in on this and on different strategies/experiences in general...
Especially for those holding rentals in up and coming areas, I've heard of strategies ranging from joining local community groups, organizing neighborhood cleanups, and calling the city about graffiti/nuisances, to buying up whole blocks, paying people to sweep the streets, and opening local cafes or bars.
My thought is that if a neighborhood were treated like any other product to be sold, it could be actively marketed to create buzz and entice more people to visit, move into, and invest. A website could announce local events (bar quizzo nights, music, museums, etc), feature real estate for sale and rent, and highlight interesting features or facts (eg. a prestigious school or a historical park). This would also give plenty of opportunity for sponsorship from local advertisers if successful. Ideally, others could contribute to pages for their neighborhoods, and a homepage would showcase a sampling of what's on the neighborhood pages.
I live and some own rentals in the NW area of Philadelphia (in W. Germantown and E. Mt Airy), which flies somewhat under the radar, but has some great things to offer and is improving gradually. The fact that the area doesn't get a lot of attention actually has been great for me because I've gotten good purchase prices relative to the rent returns. But, now that I have the properties, I would love to see the area continue to improve!
I do understand that my idea would be a huge undertaking and I'd have to recruit a lot of help, it's just something I'm thinking about and curious if there's precedent... Wondering people's thoughts on this, if this has been tried before, and if anyone has experience with running a local forum? And people's thoughts/experiences on neighborhood improvement strategies in general?
@Nancy Larcom I think you are on the right track! If you take pride in your neighborhood and reach out to others you start the ripple effect. Our local coffee shop started hosting the neighborhood association meetings and other events. The residents in the area met with the local police officer and started what is called "community policing". Getting people energized and involved is not always easy, but once the momentum starts, there's no stopping. I like your ideas. See if there is a website designer in the neighborhood who would step up to the plate and do some of the technical work gratis for his/her own benefit of improving the area and marketing by example of what he/she can do. Also, contact the city marketing department and your local media. If you have a neighborhood association, get them on board. Also, get together with other landlords who will also benefit from the revitalization and encourage their involvement.
@Al Williamson has had some good ideas over the years too... take a listen to his BP Podcast #8 and check out some of his other "out of the box" thinking.
@Marcia Maynard Thanks for the feedback and ideas! I'm fortunate that the area I live in has some strong community groups with lots of involved residents, and agree that these groups would be a good place to start... I can build simple sites, and would need to pull someone in with (a lot) more technical ability, as you suggest. I'm going to think on it for a while, and maybe mention it to some others in the area, see if I can get the time, interest, and skills I'd need to give it a try down the line...
I will definitely check out that podcast as well!
Hello, pleased to meet a like minded landlord. Check out my BiggerPocket's article to learn about a landlord who blogged his way to higher rents.
Also, neighborhood revitalizing is something I learned about the hard way. I wanted to leave a bread crumb trail so others could achieve the same results I have with less effort and do it quicker. If that sound of interest, you might want to check out my blog.
@Nancy Larcom the city has a partnership with nextdoor.com where a lot of that infrastructure is set up for you. My neighborhood is pretty active on there and that's how the city pushes out communications. You can also contact appropriate city officials on there for assistance with anything you are planning.
The hardest thing about starting your own forum is getting people to sign up and keeping the trolls out.
@Tim Butters Thanks! That looks like an interesting site, I'll think I'll join and see what's going on! I know we also have Philadelphia Speaks, so would not look to set up a site with message boards etc. and would only need to get participation from people who wanted to promote local events and/or agents who wanted to list real estate. The latter could also be accomplished with an MLS feed or cooperation from another real estate site, but that's where the technical undertaking is beyond me. I was picturing most of the visitors as passive -- just seeking a listing of events in different areas of the city or to get to know more about different neighborhoods. Nonetheless, point noted about needing to entice in positive contributors! And I know marketing of a new site is a whole other issue in itself, which I know just enough to know that I don't know enough about it. :-p
@Al Williamson Thanks, I will definitely check that out!
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