Oct 02

What Creates Value in Real Estate & Community?


What Creates Value in Real Estate & Community?
Written by Bill Barksdale

We’ve all heard the old phrases like “location, location, location” “blighted area” and “great place to live”.  They describe and hint at the things we value – particularly what we value in home and community.  Since virtually every community begins as a blank canvas, undeveloped land on which humans create homes, farms, town – it’s what those humans paint on that blank canvas over time that creates value.  A vital community is the creation of the people who live there.

Now “value” has many elements and is somewhat subjective.  That is, it depends on your point of view as to what is of value.  For most people there are many elements that make a “location” of value.  Communities develop and change depending on what the needs of the people there are.  Typically a town develops around a resource of some kind, ie the economy.  That attracts other development and people to fill those needs.

Over time the resource or demand changes and so does the community around it.  A neighborhood or community may even become obsolete.  It may then fall into disrepair which we sometimes call “blight”.  A single important building can cause blight.   We have a good example in Willits where a major building on a prominent corner downtown has been allowed, for many years now, to become a blighted structure that damages our community.  Blight can be whole neighborhoods where a few homes might become uncared for, and then the despair of those properties spreads to neighboring houses.  People move out and crime moves in, and the blight spreads.

Blighted areas eventually become opportunities.  We see energetic people with vision begin taking over derelict buildings and neighborhoods.  It usually begins with a single house or building and an inspired individual.  Sometimes the use of the area changes because the needs of the community change, sometimes the utility of the area remains the same but the structures are revived, modernized and they become desirable again.  The area begins to attract more prosperity for the people there.

Ultimately, it’s the people in any community that are the resource attracting value.  Someone decides to open an interesting café or install a bench.  The City spends some funds to put in a pocket park.  Some colorful banners go up on the city utility poles announcing the local attractions like the arts center, theater, festivals etc.  People become interested.  Interest increases spending.  Even in challenging economic times people spend and eventually the economy gets stronger.  Doing it with Joy is the key!

Value, you see, is largely perception.  The stock market rises and falls on peoples’ perception of its value.  Real estate and community value is the same.  If people perceive it as valuable to their lives they put their energy and money there.  Money is, after all, just a form of stored energy.  When you release money, that energy flows where you let go of it – so be aware of where you let go of it.

What creates value in a community?  Well think what you would like to see and do.  The Kids Club that is currently struggling to be born in Willits creates value.  It gives our young people a safe, creative place to be, grow and learn.  You could choose to support the people who are making it happen.  Our local Willits Community Theater creates value.  It helps people create live entertainment while they learn to expand their lives doing something new and exciting.  When people go to the theater they also go out to eat and they get together to talk, laugh and have a good time.

Playgrounds, gathering spots, community walks, organizing and participating in a community clean-up, lighting blighted areas and a community “watch” group to discourage vandalism, dropping in to check on a home bound neighbor or friend, starting a discussion group about something you care about, recycle or haul to the dump the junk in your yard,  get together with friends to plant a community garden, plant gardens in each yard in your neighborhood – buying supplies together for a discount, these are all things that add value to a community.  Few things, of course, are more valuable than our schools.  How you participate with and treat your children is where personal values begin.  People often choose where they will live and how much they will spend on a home based on the local schools.

On a strictly real estate level, the more care and love you put into your home, the more valuable it becomes.  A well cared for home makes the neighborhood more valuable.  Neighbors sometimes get together to discuss and plan what they can do to make their neighborhood safer and more beautiful.  Their desire to have a neighborhood that they enjoy creates value, both spiritually and financially.

We are entering a time, hopefully, of renewal and inspiration.  Ultimately the inspiration must come from within oneself.  Be looking for what can inspire you to create a better place to live.  It begins with your self and your home, whatever your age.  It expands from there to the community of people around you.  Then you will see value, in all its manifestations, increase.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Bill Barksdale: I have been selling real estate in the Willits/Mendocino Co. market for over 18 years. I can be reached at Coldwell Banker Mendo Realty Inc. PH: 707.459.8888 or Email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . I hope you will find my site (Bill Barksdale's Real Estate Site) of use to your home buying or selling a home now or in the future.

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