Making a recommendation based on expected improvements in an area can be somewhat risky. Even when a project has been approved at all levels, there is still some risk that something will occur leading to that project not being completed or changes being made that can greatly impact the value that project has to a home or business owner. However, it is not completely out of the question to inform a potential buyer of the current status of plans while also making it clear that the way those plans play out is completely out of your control. Here you will find just a few of the situations in which it could be beneficial and within reason to inform a potential buyer of proposed plans for a neighborhood that they are considering.
One project that could influence a potential buyer is increased access to major highways. Commuting to work is one of the biggest stressors that people face in their daily lives. Shortening the distance that they must drive to reach a major highway or access the interstate can help to alleviate that stress. If it has been confirmed that the local highway department has approved plans to improve local roads, then this is something that a buyer should be aware of. Not only will it potentially affect their daily life, but once completed it could also significantly increase the value of the property that they are considering purchasing.
Another change to a neighborhood that could influence a potential buyer is the construction of a school. Those with school aged children naturally desire to live near a school. This makes it easier for them to get there each day and typically leads to a family-oriented neighborhood. This, in the long run, will also increase the desirability of their home and increase its value as well. Just be sure to be clear with the buyer of what stage those plans are in. For example, if it is something that is just now being brought up to the city council you want to be sure you are not selling it as though it has been approved.
Community and recreation centers are another selling point for buyers. Everyone enjoys taking time to participate in various forms of recreation and knowing that they will have access close to their home can greatly increase their interest in a property. When using this as a selling point it is important to know as much as you can about what the center will have to offer. The more details that you can give the potential buyer, the more able they are to make an informed choice. As like many other improvements, such an addition to a neighborhood could increase home values, but it is important to be able to give potential buyers a reasonable estimate of what that would look like in the future.
Added green space can also improve the values of local homes. This is especially true in urban and suburban neighborhoods, where parks, trails and other outdoor recreation is harder to find. Be sure that you are fully aware of what the plans are and if possible, retain a copy of what is being proposed or has been approved. Again, be completely upfront about the details of the plans and its status as to not risk promising a buyer something that could potentially not be seen through to the end.
The main point is to be sure that you are not telling people that something will occur when it has not yet been set in stone. Doing so will obviously upset your client and could lead to major issues regarding your reputation in the community. Stay up to date about the progress of all proposed changes in the community that you serve so that you are best positioned to provide your clients with the most accurate information possible.
It is also a good idea to encourage your clients to do the same for themselves. This gives them some level of responsibility in making the choice that is right for them. Changes in infrastructure and other aspects of a community can significantly impact property values but you want to be sure that you are not over selling them. Do not make any guarantees about future values. For example, you would never want to give an exact figure of what a home may be worth in 5 or 10 years. There are far too many factors involved to ever be able to make such a judgement.
If you err on the side of caution you will be doing the right thing both for your client and yourself. Remember that your word is your reputation and essentially your business. Being completely honest and opaque is always the best way to approach any potential sale.