Reston Real Estate: Do Absentee Owners Impact Your Cluster?

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

I had a great real estate question this week. A friend who lives in a Lake Anne neighborhood wrote to say that the number of rentals had increased in her cluster; she was worried about the impact of that on the community and property values. She wanted to know “…what, if anything, could be done about it.”  A quick search of her cluster and determined that in her cluster were 27.5% absentee owners.

27.5% investor ownership is probably something that would be noticed in a smaller neighborhood. You might see more a little more transience with people coming and going and it can, not always, leave things looking a little less kept-up.

In condominiums lenders look at investor ownership levels as a part of assessing risk of lending in a particular condominium. If a condominium gets above 35% investor ownership some banks start looking for higher down payments from buyers and if a condominium gets to 50% investor ownership many banks will pass on lending all together.

So what can a townhouse cluster do to minimize the impact of higher investor ratios? Here are the recommendations I made to my friend who originally posed the question.

Push for strong covenants enforcement because this is where real damage can be done to a neighborhood with high investor ratios. Absentee owners can have an out of sight out of mind attitude about maintenance and tenants are rarely responsible for more than basic yard care.

Work with your cluster board to be tough about exterior repairs and maintenance. Form a group that looks for issues, don’t let absentee owners slide on violations. They are profiting from the rental of property and should shoulder their share of the burden of maintenance to keep the neighborhood as whole looking good.

This can be a great opportunity to keep a helpful eye on older owners who may not be as able to do some of heavy lifting required for exterior maintenance. Having a group of “helpers” that pitch in where needed will keep the neighborhood looking good and provide an excuse to check in on neighbors that might need a little assistance.

And finally, remember that tenants are also your neighbors — they don’t have full control of the property they occupy, but the more engaged everyone is in the well-being of the community the better.

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