July is Community Building Month

July is Community Building Month

Like the age-old conundrum of the chicken and the egg, local communities often face the challenge of which comes first – an attractive real estate market or an attractive community. The two usually go hand in hand. One small Alabama city for years struggled to attract industries with well-paying jobs because it lacked upscale homes. There was no demand for upscale homes because there was no industry with well-paying jobs. 

Unquestionably, building and sustaining strong communities helps everyone, but where do you start? July is Community Building Month and many Alabama Realtors® are committed to building better places to live, from cities to suburbs and everywhere in between.

Strong communities not only attract buyers, but they also attract buyers who become homeowners and business leaders that invest in schools, charities, organizations, youth programs, and community events that make life richer. A better quality of life, in turn, attracts more and better businesses and jobs leading to residential and commercial real estate development. That brings us back to the chicken and egg dilemma and the question: where do I begin?

Here are a few examples of Realtor®-led community building to inspire you:


Follow the Leaders

Huntsville broker Amanda Howard, profiled here in April, strategically invests her time serving on a number of boards ranging from the Huntsville Humane Society to the local chamber of commerce board of directors. She also lends a hand to community fundraising events. Likewise, Dothan broker Anita Dawkins-Weatherington’s recent profile revealed her commitment to organizing pop-up food drives in area communities. She also organizes an annual Christmas luncheon and food giveaway as well as programs for kids. There are similar stories across Alabama of Realtors® seeing a need, standing in the gap, and making things happen.


Use Your RealtorĀ® Superpowers

Forbes magazine says Realtors® are in a unique position to foster community building. “Good sources for volunteer positions where the skills of real estate professionals are especially valuable include the Residential Real Estate Council, Habitat for Humanity, and HUD. Look into the possibility of joining a committee that serves the departments of zoning, planning, or housing in your city. Fill an open position as a trustee for a nonprofit.”


Harness Your Hobbies

A good starting point, according to Forbes, is to get involved in a civic organization, club, or group. “If you have a talent or skill, offer your services as a mentor, tutor, advisor, or consultant. Do you speak a second language? Are you a master gardener? Do you play an instrument? Seek out opportunities to share your knowledge at the local library, nature center, school, or community center. Check out your city’s website for volunteer opportunities that may be available and see if any spark an interest.”


Play Hard

Sports programs offer lots of possibilities to both build the community and build your business. If you’re talented in a sport, offer to coach or sponsor a team. Donating equipment and jerseys is an investment in the community as well as a marketing tool. 


Don't Discount Seniors

Seniors of all ages are beginning to re-gather at local senior centers for games, crafts, exercise programs and classes. Consider sponsoring a lunch and program on senior communities and housing. A downsizing seminar for empty nesters is sure to be a popular topic.


Look at the Big Pictures

Realtors® organized are a powerful force. Local Realtors® see local needs and know the heart of their communities. Perhaps an urban pocket park would enhance livability. There’s probably a grant for that.  Historic preservation and restoration are important in some areas and would benefit from Realtor® input. Government planning and growth study committees certainly demand Realtor® participation. All of these will accomplish the goal of community building while also building your capital with community and government leaders.

What really should come first is a commitment to assess the needs and build upon the best assets of each community because strong communities become attractive to buyers and investors. Community Building Month is the perfect time to ask what you and your colleagues are contributing to the effort.