Valentine’s Day is all about overt expressions of love, like roses, chocolates, cards, fancy dinners, and jewelry. While we might feel inclined (or obligated) to make such demonstrations on a periodic basis, we all know that true love is found in countless small, maybe even invisible selfless acts.
In a cursory search for ideas on this topic as it relates to HOA’s, I came across ideas others had posted about hosting “Daddy Daughter” dances and date nights for the neighborhood. The idea of such gatherings would be more appealing if we all lived in Stepford, but honestly, when’s the last time you put on a gingham suit or organza dress and shared lemon bars in your neighbor’s bomb shelter? We live in a different time where in-person social interaction is in decline, even more so with neighbors. Some people, like me, actively avoid talking to neighbors, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of concern for the community! How then do we express love for our neighborhood (if not our neighbors) in a world paradoxically overly connected through social media while simultaneously starved of personal interaction? Here are some ideas to show the community some love in our post-lemon bar and chiffon world:
Go where the people are. Only a few lonely old souls are shuffling through the neighborhood with lap dogs waiting to run into someone to share the details of their latest doctor’s appointment. The streets look desolate because everyone is inside, staring at the TV, phone in hand, which makes them incredibly accessible! Tap into the unhealthy obsession with smartphones by going online. eUnify’s Resident Portal is now available via a mobile app download in both the App Store and Google Play Store (it’s called “CommunityLink” by eUnify). If the association is using the eUnify web portal, homeowners and residents can see personal and community information online in the portal, or in the CommunityLink mobile app. The portal supports online discussions and forums, and push notifications are in the works, which will enable Board Members and Managers to show they care with reminders pushed directly to homeowners’ phones. In using these tools, what you say and how you say it matter, in how many words even more so. We all have short attention spans (you probably stopped reading this blog post already); keep messages simple, kind, and of course relevant.
Do your part. If you love your community, show it in how you maintain your home. It’s amazing how charm clusters in neighborhoods. If your home is well-kept, freshly painted (the right, HOA-approved color, for the love of God), and exudes curb appeal, your neighbors are either going to be jealous haters, or are going to take a cue from your efforts and up their yard game. The net result is likely a more beautiful neighborhood and rising property values. You take pride in what you love, and love what you take pride in. Making more of an effort to maintain the exterior of your home will make you more invested in your community and will prod the neighbors in the same direction.
Participate. This one might be a stretch for those who tend to be anti-social, but you could show some love for your community by participating in a neighborhood watch, running for a position on the Board, or joining activity clubs (if there are any). You can find smaller ways to participate, too. Remember, invisible selfless acts are ways to express love, so pick up litter in common areas, or rearrange pool furniture that blew around in the last storm.
Finally, keep in mind you only get out what you put in. In terms of love, this might sound more transactional, but it holds true in both sentimental and financial realities. The more you show your love for your neighborhood, the more satisfied you will be with where you live and the more likely property values will hold.